Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gut Feeling: La Dispute - Rooms of the House

La Dispute – Rooms of the House
Better Living, 2014
On Rooms of the House La Dispute’s strongest suit is making you feel like the world is ending and that it is ALL YOUR FAULT. They do it with an uneasy blend of post-hardcore, sing-speak verses, and all the resonance of the throwback vintage emo that is very in vogue at the moment (a trend that will surely wear itself out by the end of next year but, for the moment, is welcome and contributing to some really great records). It’s like walking through a decrepit old house where the floor could give out at any second. Everything is on edge, and the controlled sense of menace La Dispute manufacture on this record is an incredible feat.

Album standout and lead single “For Mayor of Splitsville” is perhaps the most perfect representative for Rooms of the House as a whole. Vocalist Jordan Dreyer speaks then screams then sings then all three. Rooms of the House is about a disintegrating relationship that seemingly transcends time and space but there, on that song, in that moment, everything is made crystal clear. The guitars unassumingly lurk in the verses only to strike with deadly force in the chorus, providing a roll of quarters to the punch of Dreyer’s vocals on lines like “Now I’m proposing my own toast/ Composing my own joke for those married men/ Maybe I’m miserable, I’d rather run for mayor of Splitsville/ Than suffer your jokes again.” These songs are cruel and uncomfortable and compelling.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of a good concept album. Moreover, I’m a fan of break-up albums. When the two collide, I’m always there to soak up the misery. Rooms of the House makes the Alpha Couple in the Mountain Goats Tallahassee look like the Ozzie and Harriet.

RIYL: Cursive's Domestica, first wave screamo, being put through an emotional ringer

"For Mayor of Splitsville"

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