La Dispute – Panorama (Album Review)

La Dispute – Panorama
Released: 22nd March 2019

La Dispute Lineup:

Jordan Dreyer // Vocals
Brad Vander Lugt // Percussion
Chad Sterenberg // Lead Guitar
Adam Vass // Bass
Corey Stroffolino // Rhythm Guitar

La Dispute Online:

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If I was to adequately capture exactly how this album made me feel, it would be more a painting than an article; sadness and longing smeared over an apathetic background of white and grey and purple, daubs of tragedy feathering the corners, brushstrokes of disconnected grief overlaid with longer, broader strokes of love and relief, fine lines of pathos shaded over with darker, bolder lines of heart wrenching, explosive joy.

To call Panorama a powerful, emotive album would be the greatest understatement of this epoch. The narratives that make up the concept of the album stem from tragedies and stories that have occurred along the route that vocalist Jordan Dreyer and his partner would take to her hometown. The start of this journey created the inspiration for ‘Fulton Street I’, one of their most beautifully written songs to date. And not just the lyrics. The soft, nuanced strumming and raw chord changes create a sombre setting that swells to a momentous realisation of confusion and grief before sliding back to its more subdued state of sound.  A truly moving piece of music that legitimately evokes a deep inner turmoil.

A jazzy, bluesy progression sees the band undertake ‘Rhodonite and Grief’, a masterfully slow and mournful song about dealing with loss. Brad Vander Lugt really shines on this one, the forward implementation of the snare; muted high hat resonating through the melody like a leaf kissing a pond on an autumn day. It all creates a hypnotising, tear-inducing soundscape that you can’t help but lose yourself in. Again, Chad Sterenberg uses his guitar like a soothing caress more than an instrument, and it’s definitely not the last time on the album he does so.

Adam Vass leads the way on ‘In Northern Michigan’.  A thick, dreamy bass thrums under the skin of the narrative, always present, stoic underneath the Dreyer’s sometimes slow, sometimes erratic spoken word. The feeling packed into this song by one instrument is palpable. However, the songs aren’t all slow and moody. Vass packs just as much ardour into the more incendiary moments of the album. ’There You Are Hiding Place’ builds tension and reaches a shouted crescendo numerous times over its almost five minute runtime. But overall, these moments are few and far between, rendering them little islands of harsher sound in an aching ocean.

Panorama is a literal storm of emotions. From the darkening skies threatening rain, the ensuing spatter on a windshield, evolving into a thunderstorm of outpouring. The skies glisten with vibrant lightning and echo with rolling thunder, until the storm, exhausted, releases its hold on the ominous heavens and the clouds part to reveal a hopeful sky of teal and turquoise. La Dispute have overcome their own shadow, creating an unflinching masterpiece, a new milestone in an uncompromising career of beauty and misery.

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La Dispute – Panorama tracklisting:

1. Rose Quartz
2. Fulton Street I
3. Fulton Street II
4. Rhodonite and Grief
5. Anxiety Panorama
6. In Northern Michigan
7. View From Our Bedroom Window
8. Footsteps at the Pond
9. There You Are Hiding Place
10. You Ascendant

Rating: 5/5
Panorama is out Friday, March 22nd via Cooking Vinyl Australia. Pre-Order here
Review by — Dylonov Tomasivich

La Dispute Press (2019)

Photo by: Pooneh Ghana

2 Comments on La Dispute – Panorama (Album Review)

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2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. La Dispute Announce HUGE Australian Tour For September – Wall Of Sound
  2. La Dispute Unveil ‘Anxiety Panorama’ Music Video – Wall Of Sound

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