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Album Review
La Dispute - Wildlife Album Cover

La Dispute - Wildlife

Reviewed by
8.7
La Dispute - Wildlife
Record Label: No Sleep Records
Release Date: October 4, 2011
What is wildlife? Is it the creatures and the environment they inhabit? Is wildlife simple or does it have layers of creation, chaos, and destruction?

Wildlife, to the quintet from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is the triumphs and tragedies we, as human-beings, go through day in and day out. A mess of guilty murder, cancer, bitterness, and wandering aimlessly through the forest of life cannot even puncture the surface of this album. The opening song to Wildlife is titled as “a Departure” which, along with songs like “a Letter”, “a Poem”, and “a Broken Jar”, serves as a series of interludes to what Dreyer is thinking of. It is safe to assume that these songs can be witnessed as a train wreck of inner monologue. A favorite of mine is “a Poem”. There is something about the lines; “I’m increasingly aware I’ve been painting things in gray, I’m increasingly alarmed by the pain, I’m increasingly alive to every cloud up in the sky, I’m increasingly afraid it’s going to rain” that are more than words and transcend themselves through the power of Dreyer’s voice.

Dreyer’s voice, upon first listen, was something that made me dislike their first album (Somewhere At the Bottom of the River between Vega and Altair). I am an avid fan of Defeater, so I am used to the post-hardcore yell/spoken word throughout an album. What turned me from going into this album ready to shove pencils within my ear canal, was the lyrics. If words could ever paint a picture, Wildlife can paint an abstract scene full of shades of gray with white paint splattering its remnants every which way. Although, all of this can be summed up in the albums cover art, which was created by the band and bass player, Adam Vass. There is something about the haunting structure in the foreground of a forest that triggers a life that has, literally, been through hell.

This isn’t an album for music lovers, or lack thereof, who only enjoy singles. No. Wildlife needs to be sat down with an open mind and be given strict attention. The listener needs to visualize every description yelled forth in the form of a story. La Dispute wants you witness the standoff between police and a young man who has made a terrible mistake. The band wants you to break down when Dreyer screams on “King Park”, “Can I ever be forgiven ‘cause I killed that kid? It was an accident I swear it wasn't meant for him! And if I turn it on me, if I even it out, can I still get in or will they send me to hell? Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself?” Wildlife will break you down and show you what will pull the strings of your heart. Will you know personally who or what La Dispute is discussing? Not at all, but you might find sympathy for everyone, whether fiction or real, within this album.

I can’t fully sum up this album but I can try to scrape the first layer of this album for potential listeners. I can’t fully say that this album will be a classic among my, or your, music collection due to its emotional strain, but it is something that upon first listen gives you the chills. As the last song, “You and I in Unison”, says, “No one should ever have to walk through the fire alone. No one should ever have to brave that storm. No, everybody needs someone or something.” We all need someone or something. We all have to deal with this life but that doesn’t mean we have to endure the wildlife alone.
Tracklisting
1. "a Departure"
2. "Harder Harmonies"
3. "St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Blues"
4. "Edit Your Hometown"
5. "a Letter"
6. "Safer in the Forest/Love Song for Poor Michigan"
7. "The Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit"
8. "a Poem"
9. "King Park"
10. "Edward Benz, 27 Times"
11. "I See Everything"
12. "a Broken Jar"
13. "all our bruised bodies and the whole heart shrinks"
14. "You and I in Unison"
This review is a user submitted review from almightykingdom. You can see all of almightykingdom's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 20
02:01 PM on 12/26/11
#2
tottivillarossi
these pretzels are makin me thirsty
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Good review.

Although, "triggers a life that has, literally, been through hell."

literally?
04:21 PM on 12/26/11
#3
almightykingdom
auri cupiditatem
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Good review.

Although, "triggers a life that has, literally, been through hell."

literally?
The album artwork, to me, paralleled the despair of the album and looked like it had been dragged through a rough place (hell). Made sense to me but I can see how it can be confusing. Glad you enjoyed my review :)
08:14 PM on 12/26/11
#4
touchdownboi
Bob Calwell
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Definitely deserves a higher score.
09:48 PM on 12/26/11
#5
Corey Hoffy
I refuse to spend life on my knees
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Personally, the emotional strain is what will make it a classic to me. No other album this year dug its way under my skin like Wildlife did. Good review though.
11:10 PM on 12/26/11
#6
Tele72
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Started listening to this band today (after they gave out their discography). I saw them open for Thrice in october and knew I was missing something great just from watching everyone who was a fan. This is possible my favorite album of the year. SO much emotion.
07:14 AM on 12/27/11
#7
jonnyh19
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i am rather excited to hear this, infact im going to do it right now
09:11 AM on 12/27/11
#8
sk8ace
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I like this album very much. It's very powerful stuff. At the same time, It makes me sad to listen to because of the lyrics and how powerful they are. This then cuts down on the replayability for me because most of the time I want to feel energized by the music I listen to. It's a great album but unfortunately I wont be listening to it as much as Somewhere At the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair. Just my experiences with it. Thanks for the review!
04:31 PM on 12/27/11
#9
almightykingdom
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I like this album very much. It's very powerful stuff. At the same time, It makes me sad to listen to because of the lyrics and how powerful they are. This then cuts down on the replayability for me because most of the time I want to feel energized by the music I listen to. It's a great album but unfortunately I wont be listening to it as much as Somewhere At the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair. Just my experiences with it. Thanks for the review!
No problem :) I have to give SATBOTRBVAA a chance. I have only listened to it like 8 times, I just enjoy Wildlife better. Thanks for reading my review!
09:42 PM on 12/27/11
t.web4
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Nice review. I really wish I could get into this album/band but I can't.
10:39 PM on 12/27/11
roberthuston
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Wow, really good, well-written review. Love the last couple sentences " We all need someone or something. We all have to deal with this life but that doesn’t mean we have to endure the wildlife alone."

For me, King Park placed this record a keeper and definitely a classic in my library. So weird and yet awesome seeing them produce this awesome shit since seeing them in basement shows in Kalamazoo during college. They'd matured a lot since their Vancouver album.
10:40 AM on 12/28/11
Douglas Gillum
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I didn't like this the first few listens, but now I feel it's at least on par with their previous album. I still wish Jordan used as much range as he used to,
05:06 PM on 12/30/11
Hidden In NJ
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It's my opinion, but Jordan's expressive and emotional vocals are what drew me more to liking this record.

I'm just curious, what are your opinions technically on Jordan's voice? What would be the suitable vocal styling for you? what would've made you give the vocals on this record a higher score other than a 7.5?

Otherwise good review. I'm sorry, I promised myself that I would read and go look at the review, and not judge your review by the numbers you picked on the side, but tbh the 7.5 caught my eye immediately as I clicked on this page.
01:44 PM on 12/31/11
drummer13
http://chaplinband.bandcamp.com/
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The thing that really holds me back from this album is how muddled the production sounds sometimes. Almost all of "a Departure" just sounds really flat, imo. As does the beginning of "Edit Your Hometown". And the vocals on every song just seem like they have a filter on them. Anyone feel the same?
10:27 PM on 01/03/12
almightykingdom
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It's my opinion, but Jordan's expressive and emotional vocals are what drew me more to liking this record.

I'm just curious, what are your opinions technically on Jordan's voice? What would be the suitable vocal styling for you? what would've made you give the vocals on this record a higher score other than a 7.5?

Otherwise good review. I'm sorry, I promised myself that I would read and go look at the review, and not judge your review by the numbers you picked on the side, but tbh the 7.5 caught my eye immediately as I clicked on this page.
Well he does have a distinctive voice and vocal style. What I would like have liked to see is some chances be taken. For example, as in Defeaters Empty Days and Sleepless Nights their were four acoustic tracks at the end of the album which was a departure from their "norm".

I respect your opinion totally, but I felt like 7.5 was the right number for me solely on the fact that after listening to SATBOTRBVAA and then Wildlife I didn't feel a dramatic transition. That being said, I understand that this is what separates La Dispute from other bands.

Anyway, thanks for reading my review :)

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