My Favourite Albums To Date:
#5 by: Ian Albrecht
Artist- La Dispute
Album- Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair
Genre- Post-Hardcore/Spoken Word/Hardcore Punk/Experimental Rock
Lyrics 97/100, Vocals 90/100, Instrumental 94/100
This album was released in November, 2008, and is an absolute masterpiece. There is so much substance to this album, and to the band, it is ridiculous. I have never encountered a band such as La Dispute before.
When I first heard them (unlike many other people I know) I was intrigued by Jordan Dreyer's weird vocal style and I found myself wanting more and more.
I started digging more into the band’s lyrics and that's when I hit La Dispute’s gold mine. This band writes better than any other band I have heard in my entire life. Each sentence contains meaning rather than just song placement, and the meanings are both literal and metaphorical. Prior to La Dispute, singer Jordan Dreyer used to write poetry and short fiction and his talent is apparent.
A big shout out and thank you to Brynna Thorlakson (and her avid ear for amazing music) for introducing me to these talented guys.
This album revolves around the usual feelings of love, betrayal, hatred, pain, rage, anger, and dealing with loss. But La Dispute approaches these themes with more lyrical depth than the average band. I honestly cannot think of any better tracks the band has, that should have been included or replaced on this album. The songs appear to be ordered strategically, as each song’s meaning flows into the next and all the tracks are where they should be.
The first song up for evaluation is actually two songs which complement each other: "Such Small Hands” and “Nobody, Not Even The Rain". These two songs are like the ‘bow’ you unwrap before you get to the ‘gift’ of the entire album. "Such Small Hands" is the introduction track and "Nobody, Not Even The Rain" is the CD’s finale.
Holy s%@&! Are these two songs ever powerful, even though the duration is only 2:34 minutes when placed together. With lyrics like:
"I thought I heard the door open, oh no. Thought I heard the door open, but I only heard it close.
I thought I heard a plane crashing, but now I think it was your passion snapping"
They had me, right away. Another amazing line from this song is:
"I know that even with the seams stitched, darling, scars will remain.
I say we scrape them from each other, darling, and let them wash off in the rain."
The next song I need to highlight is "Bury Your Flame". Another powerful song, that speaks to me. I could easily write a thousand word essay on the impact of this song, so it is really tough for me to find one set of lyrics to share. However:
"You came back and you brought floods wearing a necklace made of hearts that you'd dragged through the mud. And I guess I wasn't quite sure what to say to you. But then I saw mine, almost reached out to grab it. Said, ‘Darling, you're the only one on earth I want to have it.’ But now I'm not so sure that was true, after the hell you put it through."
I get chills when I hear Jordan’s raw anguish as he screams through those lines. It feels as though he had to relive the experience over and over in order to lay it down, to share with us.
As I have mentioned throughout this review, this album is perfect in every single way possible - lyrically. I cannot say anything bad about Jordan's writing style. La Dispute’s vocals are hard for most people to sit and listen to because they are very rough, raw and gravelly. But I implore you to also listen to Jordan’s spoken word songs because they present an entirely different genre – yet on the same album.
The band’s instrumentals are on point throughout the album – every note belongs where it is, and reflects the mood and lyrics.
Both Chad and Kevin, La Dispute’s two guitarists, deserve recognition for their ability to play perfectly to the mood. As well, they provide some amazing riffing throughout the album, and Adam's distorted bass additions add further depth. Clearly La Dispute is a cohesive group.
Songs To Check Out: Bury Your Flame, The Last Lost Continent, Damaged Goods, Sad Prayers For Guilty Bodies.