Review Summary: There's room to sing along, so sing along.
La Dispute's shockingly brilliant first full-length album, "Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega and Altair" made a substantial impact on me -- And I wasn't the only one. With Dreyer's wonderful writing and passionate singing he captured the attention of many hardcore fans and even some people who weren't too interested in the genre (Me). In no time I was pining for more of the band. I searched to see if they had any earlier material, and to my surprise they actually had three EPs released, "Here, Hear. III" being the freshest. With eager anticipation I quickly nabbed it from the site. I was excited to hear more of the hardcore greatness that I heard on "Somewhere...", but to my surprise what I heard was something completely different.
Within seconds of listening to the opening track you'll notice that the sound is a massive step in the opposite direction of what we've come to expect since "Somewhere...". "nine" begins with the slow sounds of a soft breeze and dull synth, creating a dark and soothing atmosphere. Once the first strum of the guitar comes in, we're introduced to Dreyer. He's replaced the whiny wailing we've grown accustomed to from his last effort with a smooth, breathy tone which contributes to the songs tranquil mood. The song flows along, increasing the volume and adding more sounds while we hear that Dreyer hasn't lost his touch as a writer. He gives such vivid imagery while at the same time maintaining the sad, dark vibe established by the music in the background. This song could easily trump one of the weaker songs on "Somewhere..." with how well the atmosphere is created and held.
"We'd throw our bottles from the rooftops/At this city - it looked endless/Guess I still don't see the difference between real purpose and that urgent adolescence"
"ten" is another tranquil song, being carried along by an acoustic guitar and Dreyer's spoken words. On the first few listens this song sounded slightly corny, but it grew on me. Something about how it progressively grows more intense really captures the essence of La Dispute. They maintain a slow, quiet mood until the final verse where the electric guitar makes it's appearance and we're given Dreyer's desperate screaming once again -- And it works to absolute perfection here. It exposes what the beginning of the song for what it is with it's repetition of "It doesn't bother me at all" -- It's a clever twist on the lyrics by showing that the first few verses were actually the faux thoughts of a desperate man. The style in which this is done is so beautifully clever that it almost catches you off guard when the screaming kicks in. It feels like a quiet, peaceful song; And then in no time it's a passionate plea for help.
"eleven" is a slightly faster moving track, but the desperation is still present. Dreyer sings quickly with his slightly whiny voice as the solid lyrics progress with the guitar. It's not quite up to par with the previous two tracks, but it's still an enjoyable listen. "twelve" is a surprisingly poppy song, with it's high-pitched guitar and Dreyer singing slightly above the droning tone from the first two tracks. The lyrics are soothing and beautiful, and match great with the tone that the music develops.
When looking back at "Somewhere..." it's hard to think that La Dispute could make such a drastic change of tone here. They went from fast, intense music to slow, passionate songs that perfectly show how skilled they are at creating vivid atmospheres. There are few things to dislike about "Here, Hear. III", with Dreyer creating some of his best work. They show such great potential as a group and I have no doubt that they'll keep up the trend. Some fans of their previous album may be confused upon first listening, but it takes little time to adapt and appreciate the change.