La Dispute
Panorama


4.0
excellent

Review

by Slex CONTRIBUTOR (46 Reviews)
March 17th, 2019 | 76 replies


Release Date: 03/22/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Life/All of its languages here

What do artists owe us? Do they owe us anything? There's always a certain suspension of belief, isn't there? How do we draw the line between artifice and art, and what gives us the right to decide? La Dispute has always been a supremely literal band, reveling in the angst and anguish of the over-share, leaving very little to interpretation. Panorama made me grapple with all of these questions, explore what my intentions are as a listener. I was so disappointed by these songs: the lack of drama, the lack of specificity and motion. There seemed to be something fundamentally missing, an emptiness at its core that I couldn't put my finger on. I listened to the ambling ambience of "In Northern Michigan" and felt bored and left out, the drawn out table-setting of "You Ascendant" leaving me impatient and frustrated.

God, I was wrong. I was greedy. After a 5 year wait, I needed La Dispute to come back with a big, bold masterpiece, innovation and emoting I couldn't imagine in my wildest dreams. After the explosive theatrics of Wildlife and the obsessively detailed Rooms of the House, Panorama is an audible downshift. It finds the band embracing subtlety more than I would have ever thought possible, burrowing inward as ever but to different effect. This album derives as much power from what it chooses not to share as from what it does; you can figure out the gaping trauma at the center of "Rhodonite and Grief", but the specifics are hauntingly absent, leaving you to mull over all of the agonizing possibilities. Contrast this with "I See Everything" and the growth is undeniable. This album is wily and graceful, never quite fully showing its hand until the very end.

I'll get to that ending, which is so pivotal, in a moment, but first: the music. The band likewise embraces a less is more approach musically, impressionistic songwriting that came off as uninspired instead revealing itself to be perfectly fitting, complimenting Jordan Dreyer without being simple window dressing. Highlights abound: the jazzy, gorgeous "Rhodonite and Grief", fluttery horns and droning guitar melting into a big band climax, or the staggering "There You Are (Hiding Place)", only needing uncomplicated chords played simply and powerfully to leave a lasting impact. After a dense opening of forceful chords, yawning guitar and pounding drums, "View From Our Bedroom Window" consists of a catchy lead riff and an impassioned vocal performance and not much else, and it works wonderfully. There's been a lot of complaints about the production, which buries Dreyer and sometimes even instruments, but I can't shake the feeling that this is a very deliberate choice and a crucial facet of the album's personality. Panorama is shadowy and murky, keeping some things to itself, and this production only underlines that.

It all leads to "You Ascendant", which is about as perfect of a closer as this album could have. Here, finally, Dreyer is beautifully unguarded, giving voice to all of his deepest desires and fears. It is hands down the most intimate song in the bands catalogue since "The Last Lost Continent", taking that song's gale force emotion and paring it down into something radically bare and fragile. It's the most plainspoken and uncomplicated performance of Dreyer's career thus far, vocally and lyrically. There are rises in intensity but no true climax, no grand finale, and the lyrics astutely address this, asking straightforward questions about the meaning of death, of how it can inform life and devotion and meaning in anything and everything. These questions are framed for Dreyer and his partner and nobody else, like listening in on a conversation you're catching the end of. I longed to be included, until I realized this album isn't meant for us, and that's okay. It's for Jordan Dreyer, showing life in all of its languages, through all its seasons of grief, finally finding a hard earned happiness. Dim the lights, relax and listen in.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
March 17th 2019


33359 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review FreddieSlex.

Also, this was a good tip-off that this is now streaming!

Digging: Tame Impala - The Slow Rush

RustCohle
March 17th 2019


345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very nice review, enjoyed reading it.

JayEnder
March 17th 2019


6410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Such a stupid release date for this. It’s been leaked for like a month I just want it officially outtttt



Fantastic read though dude.

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 17th 2019


9225 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It is officially out now, as far as streaming goes

Thanks for the kind words y'all

Digging: King Krule - Man Alive!

dmathias52
March 17th 2019


1123 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Somehow I’ve only ever listened to specifically King Park from these guys, which I think is an astonishing song. Where do you think the best starting point would be?



Also, great review!

Digging: Spanish Love Songs - Brave Faces Everyone

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 17th 2019


9225 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think Wildlife is the best starting point, which has King Park on it lol

DeadBitchAlexis
March 17th 2019


2888 Comments


Do they still sound like a less interesting mewithoutYou?

LOVEANDACCEPTANCE
March 17th 2019


897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

imagine thinking that dogshit band is of ANY value compared to la dispute

DeadBitchAlexis
March 17th 2019


2888 Comments


Hey Hank hows ur day been bby

LOVEANDACCEPTANCE
March 17th 2019


897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

log out

DeadBitchAlexis
March 17th 2019


2888 Comments


ill think about it

butt.
March 17th 2019


6504 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Little typo "Dryer" in the last paragraph. Great review. Hard to say where it'll fit in rank-wise with the rest of the discography, but I'm really enjoying it so far

YungSadgod
March 17th 2019


22 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"After a 5 year wait, I needed La Dispute to come back with a big, bold masterpiece, innovation and emoting I couldn't imagine in my wildest dreams."



Which is exactly what they've done



I couldn't really decipher from your review whether you'd agree with this or not, but I honestly think this is their best album yet. Instrumentally it's like everything they've been doing since Here Hear III has been building up to this point, and from a narrative standpoint I really don't mind it being very personal (I didn't mind it on Rooms either, but this goes even deeper) because Wildlife had a tendency to get so excruciatingly depressing and over the top that it kind of became redundant (my favourite tracks on there are hands down the most introspective and personal, like You and I in Unison), and Somewhere was straight up cheesy at times. This has none of that, and it's the perfect album I knew they've always had in them.

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 17th 2019


9225 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I am a huge fan of how personal this album is, it's what got me to change my mind completely about its quality. I still think Wildlife is better because it's seriously creative and unique, but this just keeps getting better and better for me and I can totally understand why someone would think it's their best. There You Are (Hiding Place) is the perfect La Dispute song, might be their best song yet



Oops thanks for pointing that out buttboy

Hawks
March 17th 2019


73729 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Can’t wait to jam this. m/

butt.
March 17th 2019


6504 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Watching/listening to pilgrimage right now. Album is great, wish Jordan’s vox were a little higher in the mix

butt.
March 17th 2019


6504 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

These lyrics are a real treat. He’s such a good writer

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 17th 2019


9225 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Lyrics are much better than I initially thought

Album has hands down the most poetic recount of killing a moth ever lol

BMDrummer
March 17th 2019


14647 Comments


singles 4 this got me hyped

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 17th 2019


9225 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Rhodonite and Grief in particular is phenomenal

The 1-2 punch of There You Are and You Ascendant to end this album is the peak of this band's career so far



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