La Dispute is a band that truly needs no introduction. Exploding into the scene with intricate instrumentation intertwined with the passionate bellows of vocalist Jordan Dreyer, all sewn together by deep, dark, but above all beautiful lyricism, La Dispute showed that they are a very talented and capable band with their debut full-length Somewhere At the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair back in 2008. Now Koji on the other hand is a name most of you probably aren’t too familiar with. Now is your chance to familiarize yourself with the great person that is Andrew “Koji” Shiraki once and for all. Koji is a man who has built a respectable fan base with nothing but his voice and an acoustic guitar. His various charity work and gentle tunes earned him much respect and evidently, this very split with No Sleep label-mates, La Dispute titled Never Come Undone.
La Dispute starts the split with a brand new song “Sunday Morning at a Funeral,” a song that hones in on the softer side of the band more in the vein of their string of Here, Hear EPs. The song is basically a soft, rhythmic tune about just what the title suggests: waking up Sunday morning and attending a funeral. The slick, hurried spoken-word style of Dreyer flows through the light guitar work and slight drum clicks as the song proceeds. The track somberly moves on until the volume escalates a notch and the drums crash in. Dreyer’s vocals grow louder with the music as he exclaims “In the Winter I wonder what it’s like to be where you are/In the Winter I wonder what it’d be like if you were still here.” Then the song recedes into the same spoken word as before, eventually ending the track.
Next is Koji’s turn with “Peacemaker.” Koji’s somewhat nasally vocals, backed by a slow strumming acoustic guitar, pave the way for this upbeat jam. With an assortment of different percussion instruments, such as a xylophone, triangle, claves and hand-claps behind the prominent guitar of Koji, “Peacemaker” is nothing but a short, sweet, and solid acoustic song from a solid acoustic artist, which for long-time fans is exactly what is expected.
The third track on Never Come Undone is an acoustic rendtion of La Dispute’s “Last Blues For Bloody Knuckles.” The biggest element worth mentioning with this track (aside from the fact that it is toned down considerably) is the fact that even though the hollow yelps and storming drums are no longer present, this song still maintains the same emotion and passion that is expected from La Dispute and ultimately conveys what La Dispute is all about without blowing up your speakers.
The final track of Never Come Undone is by far the standout. At a staggering five minutes and thirty-nine seconds, Koji’s cover of “Biomusicology” by Ted Leo and the Pharmicists is a tremendous effort in achieving musical elegance. The overall beauty of this track is unparalleled to its three predecessors. Opening with his trademark vocals and guitar, Koji strings together a calm, peaceful environment with the help of a few string arrangements and delicate piano. As the song nears the halfway mark, the intensity of the song raises, but only to transition into a period in which Koji sits back and mostly lets the divine instrumentation paint a picture of grace and artistry in the listener’s head. It’s clear that Koji has taken a beautiful song, stripped it down and spun it in his own direction, only maximizing the charm of the song.
All in all, Never Come Undone is a split that one should reach for when they want to lay down, unwind, and relax, for the overall feel of this split is designed to do just that. Forget about any stress you might have when you put this album on, because La Dispute and Koji will soothe the soul and melt any worries you have away.