La Dispute have released ‘Wildlife’, the long-awaited follow up to their debut album, ‘Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair’. The band hasn’t been quiet during the gap between the albums, and has released EPs every year since the debut’s release. La Dispute are notorious for releasing EPs – seven have been released so far – and each EP has shown the band’s tight sound and burgeoning potential. One of these EPs was most notably a split with fellow self-proclaimed ‘The Wave’ band, Touché Amoré, titled ‘Searching For A Pulse / The Worth Of The World’. For a lot of fans, this was a particularly strong EP, if not the strongest, and not just because Touché Amoré featured. The two tracks of La Dispute contained the barely restrained aggression and the melodic, tight music that fans had come to expect, but something was different. There was a more mature, fulfilling sound. The band had seemed to finally realise how good they were and it set up the release of a second album very nicely. Fans got excited. People who hadn’t heard of the band became interested in the intriguing sound of La Dispute.
If you’re not familiar with what ‘The Wave’ bands are, they’re a group of post-hardcore bands who have a committed following, and – excuse the pun – have been making a splash in the scene. Their sounds can also be closely linked to each other at times. Some of the bands in ‘The Wave’ are Defeater, Pianos Become The Teeth and Make Do And Mend.
‘Wildlife’ starts off with ‘A Departure’. It has a low, driving bass and frenetic, well-crafted drumming. The guitars are melodic and sparse, adding to the intelligent feel of vocalist Jordan Dreyer‘s trademark style of meaningful lyrics and unstable style: at times, it’s as if he doesn’t know whether to scream or just talk, and it makes for an intriguing listen. An unwavering start.
‘St. Paul Missionary Baptist Blues’ starts with a bright guitar riff, which lasts all the way through, and prominent, demanding drums soon come into play. Dreyer, again, uses his intriguing style and it’s almost as if he’s ushering you into the song and forcing you to listen to his every word. Whatever he’s doing, it works, and he keeps you listening intently all the way through.
‘Edward Benz, 27 Times’ is quite possibly the most enticing track on offer. Dreyer almost raps his way through the track, and the guitars infuse an eclectic mix of blues, hardcore and progressive rock. The track feels like it’s desperate to burst out from the melody that holds it back and Dreyer almost ends up in a frenzy near the end of the track, as he tells the listener the story behind the track, which is the grim theme of a person being stabbed. This track is quite possibly the strongest on the album and it highlights La Dispute‘s ability to interact with the listener even on a recording. You feel yourself not wanting the song to end.
The final track, ‘You And I In Unison’, is a pared down track that ends the album on a good note. It incorporates every redeeming aspect of La Dispute: a low, driving, bass; melodic, eclectic guitars; tight, prominent drums and the absorbing style of Dreyer, which keeps you listening when it surfaces from underneath the captivating music.
‘Wildlife’ highlights the sheer intensity, creativeness and uniqueness of La Dispute. If you hadn’t heard of them before this, then you’re sure to now. This is a band that are at the top of their game and can only get better.
Written by Rhys Milsom
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.