With each new release from Michigan five-piece La Dispute, comes an air of uncertainty. How will the band reinvent their sound this time? Whether it is the typical rock of their debut Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega and Altair or the post-punk sound of 2011’s album Wildlife, the American heavyweights have become defined by being indefinable, unable to pigeonhole into one genre.

Set to release their third studio album Rooms Of The House on 18th March 2014, the band once again defies the rules and disregards the norm, creating an album on which vocalist Jordan Dreyer narrates a fictional tale of a marriage breakdown. Compared to their previous releases, this record could be regarded as ‘lighter’ in a musical term, with the heavy elements that formed the spine of their earlier work placed on the backburner, allowing more melodic influences to creep into their sound. Whether it be the sombre opening of ‘Woman (in Mirror)’ or the interweaving, tingling guitars in ‘35’, La Dispute experiment and develop their music.

Yet, it is only the music that contains the ‘lighter’ elements on the album with Dreyer’s lyrics providing a lingering mood of mourning and sorrow. Reading more like poetry, the tracks create a picture of heartache that only continues to grow stronger, a feeling that settles on the listener’s shoulders and only continues to grow heavier as the album progresses.

Opening track ‘Hudsonvile Mi 1956’ creates a sense of monotony through it’s repeated opening guitar chord over Dreyer’s listing of bland chores. Establishing this tedious tone at the outset enables the band to paint the picture of the melancholic lyrical theme and places the listener as the passenger. Sit back, close your eyes and watch the marriage decay.

With a band that is impossible to categorise into one genre, La Dispute have once again defied the expectation of their sound with their recent release, Rooms Of The House, experimenting and developing their sound, while still remaining true to the five-piece. It may be lyrically heavy, moody, melancholic and mournful but take out the earphones and you are back in the real world and realise it is just an album.

Niamh Moore

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