La Dispute/Koji - Never Come Undone
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Record Label: No Sleep Records
Rarely does No Sleep Records release a split that is not anticipated. No exceptions accompany Never Come Undone, the one-sided 12" that hits our turntables courtesy of La Dispute and Koji. We heard a split or EP from both of these artists in 2010, and both have highly anticipated future releases this year.
For La Dispute, its songs on Never Come Undone serve as a precursor to a heavily anticipated full-length follow-up to 2008's Somewhere At the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair. That full-length ignited something of a cult following for this band, and its rabid fanbase will not be disappointed with the two-song holdover it gets with this split. "Sunday Morning, At A Funeral" gives listeners more of what they're used to from this band. Crunchy guitars mesh into acoustic ones with astounding ease, and Jordan Dreyer's vocals drape over the musicianship like always. Dreyer's vocals have always been what have drawn me personally to this band, but the quality of musicianship can't be stressed enough and that is something that "Last Blues" shows very well. It's a bit lighter than "Sunday Morning" but equally as intense, as this re-imagined version of "Last Blues For Bloody Knuckles" from Somewhere At The Bottom is a fascinating listen.
Koji is one of the last artists I'd expect La Dispute to do a split with. On the complete opposite side of La Dispute's harder spectrum, Andrew Koji Shiraki has made a name for himself with the use of beautiful vocal melodies. At times using just an acoustic guitar and at times executing songs with a full band, Koji has already entrenched himself as one of the more impressive singer-songwriters around today. "Peacemaker" won't do much to change that, as it ranges from a stripped-down acoustic part to relatively lush layers of musicianship. Koji's melodies pave the way as always, and "Peacemaker" could be the exhilarating soundtrack to a late-night joyride or a calming listen before bed. His other song on Never Come Undone is a cover of Ted Leo & The Pharmacists' "Biomusicology," and Koji's mellow take on the song more than does justice to the original version.
As it is advertised on No Sleep's website, Never Come Undone is the result of personal friendships, and it shows that different types of music can mesh beautifully despite dissimilarities on the surface. Listening to the entire split at once, with alternating tracks between the two artists, reveals a curious fusion of two very different styles that in the end makes you realize that their music really isn't that different. In the grand scheme of things, with all the different styles of music in America - with rap, country, dubstep, pop, rock and roll, whatever - and then with all of the different cultural styles of music in the world, it's safe to say that Koji and La Dispute can more or less be lumped into the same category. Never Come Undone is the result of two entities with a common characteristic: they are each extremely good at what they do.
I was majorly disappointed in La Dispute's side of this split. New song does absolutely nothing for me, and that's coming from someone who probably FAVORS their more mellow and melodic material to the heavy stuff. Koji was fantastic as always, and I'm still beyond excited for the new LD full-length.
I was more impressed with Koji's side, but that is a biased opinion from someone who thinks LD's full length was absolutely phenomenal and has never listened to Koji. I still think La Dispute's side was great, but I disagree that this it "gives users more of what they're used to with this band". I feel like "Sunday Morning.." was more along the lines of the Here, Hear EPs than the full length.
I actually submitted news a few days ago of a video of a new La Dispute song live but it never got featured. They have been playing 2 new songs and Sunday Morning at every show so far on their current tour.