REVIEW: La Dispute – Wildlife

Artist: La Dispute
Album: Wildlife
Genre: Post-hardcore
Label: No Sleep Records

There are bands that take seconds to pin down and completely grasp what the lyricist is trying to proclaim, or know exactly how the music is going to progress, and then there are bands like La Dispute. These Grand Rapids natives aren’t a band that fit merely in the background of your everyday life; they are a band that takes numerous listens to fully delve into the introspective lyrical sonnets they create. They splashed on the scene with their debut album Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega and Altair, and had fans instantly hooked by a band that proved to have a sense of purpose as they stripped their music down to its pristine state of raw audacious emotion. La Dispute continue to take listeners on a painfully affecting journey on their latest storytelling creation, Wildlife.

Instrumentally, Wildlife is a prevailing force of post-hardcore sensibilities while creating a chaotic yet controlled sound. Between the dissonance and wind chime soundscapes of album opener, “a Departure,” to the lighthearted swaying tune, “St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Blues,” La Dispute manage to keep the listener at the edge of their seat in anticipation from note to note. Each song sways between thunderous drum beats, thick guitar lines while adding captivating melodic touches most notably in “a Letter,” one of the albums highest point. The sorrow-filled opening bars of distant snare drums and subdued guitar work take a back seat while allowing almost spoken poetry to shine. As the music progresses to an alluring build up, vocalist Jordan Dreyer follows suit by screaming every personal struggle out of his heart, leaving the listener to feel nothing but the fear, loss and despair that he clearly illustrates.

The speed and resonance of Dreyer’s vocals tumble somewhere between screaming and speaking but it’s his imagery and the way he writes his lyrics that really push him far ahead of his contemporaries. He diminishes the customary song structure and purely focuses on stream of consciously spilling his thoughts out. His first person autobiographies of his later work have converted to a narrator looking in with the stories he tells. The lyrical content on Wildlife is not for the faint of heart as it takes you on a whirlwind of dark stories from a fathers recollection of being mercilessly abused by his son in, “Edward Benz, 27 Times,” to a parents mournful loss of their child to cancer on, “I See Everything.” Dreyer’s passionate delivery gives you an impression of someone at the end of their rope as he completely lets go of every demon holding him down.

If your heart remains safely within the cavity of your chest after listening to Wildlife then I have one request; turn off your television, turn off your phone, and spend the next hour exploring deeper into the profound message it conveys. La Dispute have improved their musicianship while tuning into the raw talent we’ve come to love. The introspective tales are emotionally draining and validates that Wildlife is one of the most expressive records of the year.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by: Nerissa Judd

James Shotwell
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One Response to “REVIEW: La Dispute – Wildlife”

  1. justin says:

    so so true the album was creatively and impressively written