It’s has never been easy to categorize La Dispute or nail them down to one specific genre. Thanks to the newest addition to their discography, Rooms of the House makes it utterly impossible. Each track plays in its part illustrating the demise of passionless relationship whose love fades into oblivion through the album’s progression. While vocalist Jordan Dreyer is known for having an eloquent way of explaining the deepest emotions surrounding the most horrifying events, he takes a step back from the pure devastation of Wildlife’s “King Park” as he meticulously analyzes the everyday motions of muddling through life alone in a marriage. It’s the brutal simplicity of events that make them just as haunting as “All Our Bruised Bodies” and “Andria.”
While the lyrics are beautiful and further solidify Dreyer’s position as one of the best lyricists around, it’s the sonic variety of Rooms of the House that puts the album in such a vivid context. Tracks range from the old La Dispute trademarks to the band venturing to new territory. Of course, there are post-hardcore, heart-wrenched screams with the heavy instrumentals that fans are familiar with and would probably be upset if there wasn’t at least a handful tracks that stay true to form. Within the album, “35” and “The Child We Lost 1963” are reminiscent of the anxiety of Vancouver and serve as peaks of tension within the album.
Yet, it is the successful exploration into previously touched upon sounds that make this album so unbelievable. “Woman (In Mirror)” and “Objects and Space” are almost reminiscent of Hear, Here EPs. In case you aren’t familiar with the three Hear, Here EPs, La Dispute put them out between 2008-2009, each track titled simply with a number in order of release. Released after Somewhere at the Bottom, the songs are much more melodic and the vocals are subdued, reminiscent of spoken word as opposed to post-hardcore screaming. Within the album, the toned-down sound and repetition serve as punctuation within the album’s story, creating a calm feeling of someone going through the motions of life as they should without any real direction. Yet, individually, these tracks are beautifully complex and emotionally stirring, proving La Dispute’s incredible ability to strike an emotional chord without being loud or blatant.
While those four tracks act as extremes of the albums, the other eight songs seem to fall into somewhere in between. It’s the combination of heavy and light elements in those tracks that make each track unique yet cohesive. For album that have has such variety, it is impressive that not one track seems forced or out a place.
La Dispute really took a big risk here, making an album that is further off the map than their other releases. However, the risk was more than worth the reward as this is easily the best album they’ve ever put out. La Dispute declared themselves as one of the most innovative bands in post-hardcore, refusing to compensate meticulous sound for passion. I truly believe that there are a couple perfect songs on this album. The band’s attention to detail and willingness to experiment makes Rooms of the House an easy contender for any “Best of 2014” list and in time, a classic for the genre.
La Dispute influenced and inspired so many post-hardcore bands with their previous albums. This album is not only important for La Dispute and their discography, but for the genre as a whole. I’m sure this will inspire even more to take a risk, unlock untapped potential, and work to develop new sounds that bands may have hesitated to look into otherwise. Rooms of the House just changed the game and I can’t wait to witness the consequences.