Review: La Dispute releases Panorama four years after junior album

La Dispute gives a wonderful mix of layered sounds and variations that leave listeners finding something new each time they listen.”

Grand Rapids natives, La Dispute have released their first full length album in four years, Panorama via Epitaph Records. The ten track album follows Rooms of the House (2015).

The band hasn’t been completely silent since then, releasing documentary/live album Tiny Dots as well as a tenth anniversary re-release of their debut work, Somewhere at the Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair.

Panorama starts out strong following “ROSE QUARTZ” with “FULTON STREET I” and “FULTON STREET II.” The songs leave listeners with thoughts of death by the interstate. This starts the narrative for the rest of the album. The many transitional songs on this album leave listeners feeling as if you’re experiencing that death, loss and fading.

Towards the middle of the album, “ANXIETY PANORAMA” lives up to the track name with swelling guitar and a powerful vocal performance from Jordan Dreyer.

 If there was one thing I was expecting, it was definitely a mention of the “Mitten State” in the track list and I was not let down by “NORTHERN MICHIGAN.” While the song is slower and more mellow, it offers a sense of calming.  Dreyers soft spoken word is accompanied by whimsical chimes, adding to that sense. 

“FOOTSTEPS AT THE POND” is further in the track list, but was actually one of the early singles from the album. While it offers powerful guitar, I am not the biggest fan of the lyrical pairing. The lyrics alone are great but this, but get lost in the riffs. 

The album ends strongly with “YOU ASCENDANT,” leaving listeners wanting more of the narrative.  

La Dispute gives a wonderful mix of layered sounds and variations that leave listeners finding something new each time they listen.

While some may say that they are disappointed in the new music, I can say that this was everything I didn’t know I wanted as a new release from the Grand Rapids based band.

La Dispute will be back in Michigan on April 13th for a sold out hometown show in Grand Rapids with a show at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac to follow on April 14th. Opening for them will be Gouge Away and Slow Mass. Tickets and information can be found here.

*photo credit: Pooneh Ghana

Janelle Santacruz