Review Summary: La Dispute have matured a lot.
"(...) To capture honest pure affection (...)"
If that is what La Dispute tried to capture, they have truly succeeded. No phony "Tonight we ride!" here. No fake "I think I saw you in my sleep". None of that. Honest, pure affection.
Here, Hear III is (as the name would suggest) the third part of the "Here, Hear"-experiment, as reffered to by frontman Jordan Dreyer. "For as long as we make music we'll make Here, Hear stuff." The music on the short (usually around 10, 15 minutes) LP's mainly employ spoken word and experimental/indie.
The atmosphere of the songs are, unlike their debut, calming and easeful. Not only the music itself (guitars are kept as clean as possible, the drums are transparent), but also the vocals have lost a lot of the anger that "Somewhere at the bottom" dealt with. Rather than focussing on sounding aggressive and shouting as much as possible, almost all of the lyrics are spoken. Jordan has such a beautiful, emotional voice, and he should use it to expres more than only unwashed rage.
Also the words have matured. The up-long, tight passages about "darlings" and "lovers" have taken place for a lot less intensity. Where reading the lyrics of their debut raises a certain feeling of worry and friction, the material on Here, Hear III has a lot more of a "looser" feel to it. Take for example "Twelve", the conclusion to the record. Instead of whining and whining about how he misses her, Jordan uses simple questions (Won't you feel warm with me? Isn't someone always running?) to describe the pain he's going through. The songs raise questions and make you wonder, but in a lot less pressureful way than "Somewhere at the bottom...", which feels like a robber pointing a gun at your head. Here, it all just feels a little lighter. And a lot more true.
The downfall of this record are definitely the details; I could have been writing a five star review if only the production was better. Dynamicity is missing at some parts, Jordan expresses his emotions perfectly but it feels like the instrumentalists only focus on the technical aspect of the music. The songs lack those little things that make a composition breathtaking; that one guitar-note, that one vocal swipe. Everything is there, but still, there is something missing. If they had only took a little more time to polish those last bits this could have been a masterpiece.
They will realize their faults though, and I'm convinced the next part is going to include those little details. After all, La Dispute are a bunch of great musicians.