La Dispute – Panorama

Michigan post-hardcore band La Dispute are titans of their scene, but on Panorama they also prove to be lyricists of the highest calibre

Album Review by Mark McConville | 29 Mar 2019
  • La Dispute – Panorama
Album title: Panorama
Artist: La Dispute
Label: Epitaph
Release date: 22 Mar

Forming alliances with your dreams is a struggle, becoming a master of your own existence more so. The constant feeling of giving up can send you insane, and when the visions of your past come back and haunt you, you know you’re not well. Post-hardcore band La Dispute write like they’re dropping off and cascading into a darkness, but they do so with meaning and intent, searching for a place to rest their heads and to empty their minds.

Spoken word poetry is yet again valued on the band’s new record Panorama, and it should be. Lyrics should be applauded, especially when they’re compelling enough to make us stray from the void; La Dispute combine honesty and sincerity in their hard-hitting stories, and it’s engaging, although the journey isn’t a wild one. There are times when the music hits and beats, but more often than not it’s subtle.

The album opens with the soothing introduction of instrumental Rose Quartz. Rhodonite and Grief begins relaxed, before screams and shuddering instrumentals meld together to create an engaging atmosphere, conveying loss. Tragedy is a touchy subject, but here the band describe it freely. View From Our Bedroom Window starts loudly, with a pleasing riff and lyrics that form a fable of mistrust. Footsteps at the Pond is louder than anything before it, the punchy guitar sequence holding up well as Dreyer communicates his grievances through passages of poetry.

The Michigan five-piece aren’t usually known for their calm and collective nature, but on Panorama there are songs of tranquillity even if the subject matter is ruthless. Lead vocalist Jordan Dreyer sings about shame and burns, horrendous pain and sickness, truthfully pointing at the abyss. Musically the record can be bashful and progressive, the guitars razor-sharp. As mentioned before, on the first half of the album there’s subtle notes. But as the opus nears its conclusion, the songs gain heat. Brash instrumentals and screams collide, making for an album of two faces.

La Dispute are titans of their scene, but they’re also lyricists of the highest calibre, writing songs many will confide in. Album number four isn’t a drastic change in direction, but it reaches heights when their powerful words lash the mind.

Listen to: View From Our Bedroom Window, Footsteps at the Pond, Rhodonite and Grief