Review Summary: 'So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped.'
The wonderful thing about the Here, Hear
series is the unconventional and intimate recording of every piece; the honesty and sincerity of La Dispute is consequently captured entirely. Continuing the trend that Here, Hear. I
set, the second in the series follows suit by showcasing the completely different side to the usually high energy post-hardcore shenanigans of the 5-piece. This side they show is calmed and stripped down and backed with very raw and genuine production. Each EP comes with a set of linear notes with thoughtful pictures that explain each track, how it was recorded, and who for. All in all this adds to the appeal of La Dispute's work, and in this case makes Here, Hear. II
a very comfortable listen.
Intimacy is indeed a huge aspect of why each EP works – Jordan Dreyer's confident vocal tone suddenly becomes a warming familiarity, unlike the angry, thesaurus-eating monster he was on Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River...
. Here he possesses an enthralling ability to charm the ears, alluring to the very end of each word. Despite the fact that Dreyer is certainly a veteran lyricist in his own right, on Here, Hear. II
the lyrics are taken from other extracts. Often poetic, sometimes philosophical, always engaging, he definitely chose fitting anecdotes and stories to accompany the quirky instrumentation. “five” for example begins with an upbeat bass line that is soon joined by an almost jazz-like piano that dances over the spoken poetic words of Charles Bukowski.
“seven” undoubtedly shows near perfection in the art of musical storytelling, Dreyer altering his voice with pulsing charisma whenever suitable to make the tale that much more enchanting. The tale itself is taken from the first chapter of the famous Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame, which follows a day in the life of a mole who chooses to explore the outdoors contrary to his usual spring cleaning of his home. A piano plods along in textbook resemblance to the feel of the narrative, accompanied by interesting percussion to sprinkle the innocent atmosphere. The musical subtleties throughout are executed with precision over technicality – an aspect the band have judged correctly, as in spite of their talent they are certain of when enough is enough.
Clever and considerate, La Dispute once again prove that they can consistently produce intelligent and certainly inspired music. Though subdued, Here, Hear. II
pays homage to some of their influences which makes for a lovely insight into what makes the group tick. The backing instrumentation is almost musically witty in its interesting surrounding. It's almost if the band were writing whatever they felt the moment they heard the lyrics – all elements glue together so well. It doesn't matter that the words aren't Dreyer's own, it's his delivery of them that's the attraction. He is able to leave a smile where a smile should be beamed, and a thought when a thought should be provoked.