A few years ago, I came across a band whose music was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. After listening to La Dispute a few times, I came to realize that the reason I liked their music so much was due to its poetry, both lyrically and, in a way, musically. The lyrics struck me as poetic for obvious reasons – they were dark and beautiful. However, the music took me by surprise. Not once had I ever experienced so much raw emotion while listening to a band. La Dispute’s style of music is exactly what made me fall in love with them and these beloved elements are showcased again in their third studio album Rooms of the House.
Needless to say, Jordan Dreyer’s vocals are very unique. The passion he throws into every single song he performs never ceases to amaze me. This is demonstrated in the first track of the Rooms of the House, “Hudsonville, MI 1956”. The beauty of this song is that it incorporates both of Dreyer’s noteworthy vocal styles. It starts off with the strumming of a guitar along with what is comparable to spoken word poetry. After a while the song kicks up and Dreyer’s vocals change to his signature exasperated screams. The instrumentals in this track work perfectly with the vocals as well. The music intensifies when the vocals do and it slows down when Dreyer’s voice becomes calm for the half-spoken, half-screamed parts of the song.
“For Mayor In Splitsville” is the song that shows the most maturity from the band. I was a bit thrown off by this track at first because it sounds the very different from anything they’ve ever released before. It starts by showing off the band’s guitars that have more of a pop influence than any of the other songs. I was surprised to find that I actually liked this change. This song describes the collapse of a relationship that is very easy to relate to: “Why are those old worn out jokes on married life told at toasts at receptions still?/How does it never occur how often couples get burned and end uncertain in Splitsville?” Overall, “Splitsville” is also quite catchy.
The third track, “Woman (In Mirror)”, shows off the band’s mellower aspects. This song serves as a ballad of sorts and conveys as much emotion as any song that includes screaming. Part of what makes La Dispute’s music genius is that they don’t need the hardcore screaming to express passion. One can barely hear Dreyer’s hushed, spoken-word vocals. The instrumentals in the track are modest and let the vocals speak for themselves. This song also provides a balance to the album so that it’s not all heavy. This is also done later on with the song “35”.
“Stay Happy There” is the first glimpse of the record that many people got. The track is incredibly fast-paced and includes quintessential La Dispute lyrics that are almost like a stream of consciousness: “And from here in the kitchen/I can hear the neighbors in the alley hanging linens/And the men collect the trash bins in the street/ You’re speaking to me but I can’t understand you.” The album ends perfectly on a light note with the song “Objects In Space”. The vocal style in this song reminds me of some of the band’s older songs, such as “One” off of Here, Hear.
It’s safe to say that Rooms of the House is one of the best albums that I’ve heard in a while. It has definitely done a great job of showing off the band’s maturity and I can confidently say that any fan of La Dispute will fall in love with the record just as much as I have.