"tell me about God, tell me about love, tell me that it is all of the above. say you think of everything in fear. I bet you're not the only one who does..."
Today I received one of the last of my most anticipated releases this year. In fact, it's been anticipated for over a year and half now. So with the growing time frame and word I was hearing from the front-lines, things were coming together progressively, aggressively and a few who heard the finished the project - unsettling. Upon my first listen of La Dispute's Wildlife, I can say it's one of the most uncomfortable records I've heard since The Devil and God Are Raging Inside of Me. But this is a different type of unsettling. There's no vague description of dismay, instead this is an album's worth of pent up frustration that's released in such a manner that certain parts of the record make you step back.
What's interesting about the album is the way the narrator is using these "stories" to figure out similar problems he's going through. There is nothing up for interpretation from each song. Each line is laid out like a journal entry. Each reflection isn't made of metaphors, there's not a ton of tongue-in-cheek wordplay but there is ton of description as the stream-of-conscious race of thoughts steamroll, build and swell along with the instrumentals.
A lot of people complain that La Dispute isn't "screamo" and blah blah blah, but the feelings of anguish I got when I first heard City of Caterpillar or Circle Takes the Square and later on with Raein and Still Life, it is easily present on Wildlife. No matter if its the old Portrait 10" my friend found yesterday or the chaos that is Orchid's final record (which is their best), there's an outlet of pain in this genre that you either get or you don't - and it's way past what version of the vinyl you get, it's about feeling in the depths of the grooves as the needle moves in and out of the trenches. I can also see why some people find it as being a crybaby's game. (I'm looking at you Jeromes Dream.) Like rebellion in punk and experimentation in post and politics in hip-hop - the screamo/post-hardcore scene is another distorted genre borrowing ideas from the prime numbers of rock and soul that came before it.
Soul is certainly the key term worth using here. Wondering if there's an epic "The Last Lost Continent" this time around? "all our bruised bodies and the whole heart shrinks" is that track. In under half the time of the former, it equates the fact that we all go through some sort of suffering, and even at the other end, there is that simple thought of "I hope that never happens to me" or even that time when you think you're having the worst day and you hear from someone close to you that their last 30-minute experience is something you wish to forever avoid if at all possible.
For anyone who ever told me that some of the music I listen to is noise, or crying or screaming, etc. - it's albums like this I want to give them at certain moments in their life when a pop song is blank slate of calculated hooks with the void of any meaning - an empty syringe. When music makes you shiver at any sort of introspective moment - that moment will stick with you. I have a feeling with a few more listens, Wildlife's delivery - though a bit different from the band's former release - might even be more powerful once each song sinks in the senses more. This genre has become a cliched, first person nuance of lyrics we've heard over and over again to the point where it looses any sort of meaning. Matched to the band's instrumental work and tone - this isn't an album of hope - it's just about trying to make reason out of third person viewpoint. A voice and approach I haven't heard from in a while
- love and respect