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- The Rooms Of The House by La Dispute
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7/10 Andy Customer review, 14th August 2014
Lingering somewhere between At The Drive-In and Touche Amore, this amazing piece of Post-Hardcore work makes it stand out, and a definite contender for album of year. Indie vocals mixed with hard hitting, well recorded instrumentals makes this album hard hitting on all levels. The connection you feel with the characters and settings in this story of an album makes it that much more effective to the listener. A superbly produced album and a must have for all music lovers.
Before 'Rooms of the House', I loved La Dispute solely for their music. Their chaotic and complex guitar parts found on 'Somewhere...' and 'Vancouver' impressed me more than the lyrics. On these releases, La Dispute's lyrics are overly dramatic. While the beauty of Dreyer's lyrics on 'Wildlife' can be appreciated, it seemed that the band were trying too hard to create emotion by resorting to dark narratives of murder, suicide, and cancer. However, 'Rooms of the House' is the first La Dispute release which I find lyrical satisfying. The album's setting and concept is universal and simple. It details domestic life and the breakdown of a relationship. Dreyer turns to ordinary, everyday objects, which transport him back to a specific time and a place. These particular commonplace objects are significant as they evoke memories of the past thus they are able to remind us of love and loss. In this way, Dreyer communicates sincere emotion, as the domestic setting is real and tangible, which emphasises the tragedy of the decaying "ordinary love" that the album is centered on. While the music is not as energetic and dynamic, as their first EP and album, it remains interesting and imaginative - more so than 'Wildlife'. 'Woman (reading)', 'Woman (in mirror)', and 'Objects in Space' are some of La Dispute's best tracks. Here they are at their most melodic and melancholic. The guitars, drums and vocals in these three songs are beautifully understated and controlled. Dreyer sings and uses spoken word, which is a nice change. Elsewhere on the album, the band prove that they can still be intense and noisy, however they make more of an attempt to adhere to conventional song structures, as 'For Mayor of Splitsville' is the closest La Dispute have come to a chorus. The album's production is similar to that of 'Wildlife', which is raw, tinny and claustrophobic. Whilst this may not appeal to people who prefer a more polished sound, the live feel complements the lyrics of the album, as it brings the music closer to reality. 'Rooms of the House' emphasises physical space, emptiness and lack, as the "rooms" are no longer filled with people and objects have lost their meaning as they are taken out of the context of the relationship, and yet ironically this album is the most whole of La Dispute's albums, as it balances sincere lyrics and universal themes with interesting music which is simultaneously melodic and abrasive.
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