Review Summary: Still La Dispute with bigger balls. And that's still a good thing.
Lakota de Kai have been puttering around for a few a years with a couple EP’s up until this point that have shown some great promise. The young band hit hard from the beginning with a sound incorporating Every Time I Die and the Chariot-style furious riffs, emotive twinkly emo bits and vocals that recalled MI post hardcore band Victor! Fix the Sun, and generally sounding like La Dispute with more balls.
This mishmash blended together well but stumbled in the songwriting area at times on the first EP "smoke Signals," and the flat production didn’t help matters much on second ep 'Heavy Teeth.' On 'Big Dad Wolf,' LDK hit their stride with eight polished songs that have the production to back their sharp and abrasive sound up.
Hardcore riffs make up the backbone of the album while the vocals jump from spoken word to furious screaming, and often both, on a whim. They take the forefront and are very… animated. Whether you find the vocalist's very prominent southern drawl fitting of their sound or comical depends on how much cheese you can stand in your music.
The majority of the songs ebb and flow from quiet guitar noodling to furious southern metalcore passages building to almost post-rock like climaxes. The cues they take from seasoned bands are obvious, but LDK cuts out an impressive niche of their own sound-wise.The spoken word bits aren’t exactly brimming with lyricism that warrants the attention that the style draws to the sections, and the make the vocal delivery stand out more, but thankfully they are few and far between towards the tail end of the album on cuts “A Boy Named Sad” and “Hell in a Cell '98.”
The bulk of the album is lots of anger, some twinkly bits, and furious, dirty southern guitar barrages with some serious attitude. I maintain that this full length is indeed a continuation and refinement of their “La Dispute with balls and some ETID riffs,” and that is in no way a bad thing.