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La Dispute - Wildlife Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9.25
Lyrics 10
Production 9.5
Creativity 10
Lasting Value 9.75
Reviewer Tilt 10
Final Verdict: 96%
Member Ratings
Vocals 6.9
Musicianship 7.45
Lyrics 7.83
Production 7
Creativity 6.93
Lasting Value 6.8
Reviewer Tilt 7.15
Average: 72%
Inside AP.net

La Dispute - Wildlife

Reviewed by: njdevils327 (10/15/11)
La Dispute - Wildlife
Record Label: No Sleep Records
Release Date: October 4, 2011

There are some albums that, as a listener, you are anticipating more than anything in the world, and the anxious moment right before you put your headphones on to listen is a question of whether or not the band will live up to your high expectations. Then there are releases that come out of nowhere and smack you in the face so hard that you won’t ever listen to music the same way again.

La Dispute’s Wildlife is the quintessential form of the latter for me. I must be honest that I listened to maybe one or two of the songs off their first full length Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair and probably spent less time with that record than I just spent typing out it’s album title. So the moments just before putting my headphones in weren’t filled with expectation. I have never been happier to be proven completely wrong.

Opening track “A Departure” commanded my attention immediately, with its dissonant chords leaving me uncomfortable even before vocalist Jordan Dreyer’s haunting words fire up with a background howl. “Maybe you know what I'm talking about. Or maybe you would have known? Or had known? Is it once knew? I don't know what tense to use,” Dreyer states uncomfortably in the track.

Wildlife is a concept album about a writer’s life and the short stories he is writing and how the stories and his life interweave until he is unsure what is fact and what is fiction. This narrative is pushed forward by the four tracks titled “a Departure”, “a Letter,” “a Poem,” and “a Broken Jar.” The narrator becomes progressively more distressed in his state until “a Broken Jar” when he completely succumbs to the fractured mental state in which he now lives because of his stories. “Which voice is this, then, that I've been writing in? Is it my own or his? Has there ever been a difference between them at all? I don't know,” Dreyer sings, in what may be his most honest song.

Andrew Everding and Joseph Pedulla get huge marks for the production on this album, which at once keeps the raw energy of the band intact, but creates a massive multi-layered sound as well. The drum sounds on this album are crisp and beautiful which truly pushes this album even further.

But the lyrics really are the centerpiece of this act, and it would be wrong to discuss the album without taking the lyrics to the forefront of the discussion. “When you came into the store, did you know you’d show me your scars?” Dreyer asks on “Edward Benz, 27 Times” and it feels to the listener like Dreyer is showing his scars to everyone, putting all his insecurities on display.

The albums’ highlights come in the form of two second half narratives: “King Park” and “I See Everything.” “King Park” features a story about a 20-year old gangster who accidentally shot a young boy and has to live with the consequences. “Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself,” the gang member cries in what might be the album’s most poignant moment. “I See Everything” a story about a young boy who died of cancer build to a massive crescendo that will send shivers down your spine. Guitarists Kevin Whittemore and Chad Sterenburg create a chilling guitar shriek just moments before Dreyer shouts “We buried our son today.”

Despite how sharply “Wildlife” is assembled, the album seems to take on a bit of a back-loaded feel as tracks "St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Blues" and “Edit Your Hometown” are forgettable, while every track on the back half is as powerful as the one that precedes it.

But regardless of the albums few missteps, it succeeds in being one of the most refreshing, original, and-- I can’t believe I’m using this term to describe a post-hardcore/ hardcore/skramz/whatever album-- beautiful albums I’ve ever heard. If this album doesn’t impact you on at least an emotional level, you don’t have a heart. And if you can’t stand Jordan Dreyer’s vocals for whatever reason, read the lyrics. Anyone who has experienced heartache, lost a loved one, questioned their faith, or lived through trauma can relate to this album. “Tell me what your worst fears are, I bet they look like mine,” Dreyer writes. How correct he is.

Recommended If You Like Thought-provoking lyrics; mewithoutyou; Touche Amore; goosebumps


ladisputemusic.com
www.myspace.com/ladispute
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 25
07:48 PM on 10/27/11
#2
skrillzzz1109
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Wow I completely disagree about "St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Blues". I think the use of a metaphor between the old church and his life (or whatever fictional character that may be portrayed here) is absolutely amazing. Especiailly how he kind of ties it all together quickly at the end.

But good review here. This is one of those albums that will open up a whole new music world to me. I can't stop listening to it and am just blown away by the power of these lyrics.
11:08 AM on 10/28/11
#3
glogglies
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Great album. Not as good as their previous, but I dig anything from this band. Superb lyrics, powerful and raw emotion, and great instrumental backing.
02:22 PM on 10/28/11
#4
Douglas Gillum
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I love La Dispute and their first two release were amazing. But, I don't like the vocals on this album at all. They seem obnoxiously quiet and lack the intensity they had in the earlier stuff. There are exceptions for certain parts of certain songs. Either, there are maybe two songs I will keep listening to for a while.
06:15 PM on 10/30/11
#5
ibelieveinjake
i have a headache
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I love La Dispute and their first two release were amazing. But, I don't like the vocals on this album at all. They seem obnoxiously quiet and lack the intensity they had in the earlier stuff. There are exceptions for certain parts of certain songs. Either, there are maybe two songs I will keep listening to for a while.
There was an article posted a while back (maybe via their Twitter?) that talked about how they recorded the album using only natural reverb...which explains the huge dynamic gap in the vocals going from quiet to loud. Really interesting read if you're into the technical side of things, and explains exactly what you talked about.
07:33 PM on 10/30/11
#6
Sheluligans
Focus on the horizon.
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This dude gets it. Great review.
08:19 PM on 10/30/11
#7
Spartan789013
I should be proper for a change
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My thoughts exactly.
08:55 PM on 10/30/11
#8
Ryan Gardner
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This album is absolutely incredible. So discomforting in such an intense manner
10:17 PM on 10/30/11
#9
brook183
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You know an album is deserving of a 96% when it still makes your hairs stand on end on the 15th listen.
10:20 PM on 10/30/11
njdevils327
You know Craigslist? That's my list
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You know an album is deserving of a 96% when it still makes your hairs stand on end on the 15th listen.

True that. Like I said in the review, every time that guitar shriek in "I See Everything" comes in after "January 19", my entire body shakes. So powerful.


Thanks to everyone so far for the kind words. It means a lot.
02:13 AM on 10/31/11
deady
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Got this for free with a German music magazine last week and have to say it is good. I don't realy get the hype though, as I don't think his lyrics are that special. They are good, ho doubt about that, but thats it...
03:13 AM on 10/31/11
Jake Jenkins
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I love La Dispute and their first two release were amazing. But, I don't like the vocals on this album at all. They seem obnoxiously quiet and lack the intensity they had in the earlier stuff. There are exceptions for certain parts of certain songs. Either, there are maybe two songs I will keep listening to for a while.
how you could possibly like their older work and not like the vocals on this album is beyond me. if anything they're better on this album. but in all reality they're very much the same.
06:57 AM on 10/31/11
Tilde
Rudiger.
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I found Edit Your Hometown one of the most captivating songs on the album
07:12 AM on 10/31/11
circletheworld
Old Fears New Frontiers
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solid release, i think in time i will like this one so much more than "Somewhere at the Bottom.."
07:34 AM on 10/31/11
Caleb Cabrera
gooby pls
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Great album, great review. You know exactly how to describe this album.
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