Not many people make art for the sake of art anymore. In an age of dwindling attention spans and pop songs based on samples of what came before them, we need bands like La Dispute more than ever—and their third full-length Rooms Of The House is evidence of why.
The band—which features vocalist Jordan Dreyer, guitarists Kevin Whittemore and Chad Morgan-Sterenberg, bassist Adam Vass and drummer Brad Vander Lugt—began work on Rooms Of The House last April by renting a cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “The area where we were was pretty remote so we could focus on playing and not much else,” Vass explains. “It was just the five of us working on writing every single day for a month and pretty much the entire album came out of those sessions.” Following that the band headlined Australia and spent the next few months perfecting this collection of songs before heading into Pennsylvania’s Studio 4 Recording with record producer and engineer Will Yip. “We decided pretty early on that we wanted to work with Will because we’re a band that’s very deliberate in what we want from our records sonically and he has a special sense for visualizing and facilitating that,” Dreyer articulates.
Musically, Rooms Of The House—which is also the first release on Better Living, a label recently started by the band—has more hallmarks of a pop album than the band’s previous work but also manages to retain La Dispute’s signature sound. “The challenge with this record became trying to do more with less so I think from a musical and lyrical standpoint that’s something that will stand out to listeners,” he goes on.
In that spirit Rooms Of The House sees Dreyer stepping back to focus on the everyday interactions that make up our daily lives, using a collapsing relationship as the backdrop for the way household objects continue to hold meaning long after both parties have moved on. “You have all these ordinary things in your life that develop their own history in the memories you share with another person and once you lose that person all of those things continue to remain,” he explains. “The album started out being about a fictional couple and then over time it developed into more of a sweeping narrative about common space and history and about the history of objects,” he continues. “What happens to them after things dissolve, how they end up being reappropriated into something else.”
Like all of La Dispute’s releases Rooms Of The House showcases the band’s extreme attention to detail from the sequencing to graphic designer Vass’ captivating artwork. “I like the idea of knowing the end of a story from the beginning so when we started writing in April I already had a vision of what I wanted to do with the cover art,” Vass explains. “The imagery on the cover and even the way the songs are individually laid out all tie into the album’s bigger concepts,” he continues. “The art was largely inspired by the song ‘Objects In Space’ and the idea of a group of objects coming together to have some kind of greater meaning in their curation.”
Ultimately, listening to Rooms Of The House is the best way to truly understand their vision. “I’m so proud of this record because through years of playing music together we’ve found our own musical identity that I think is a true representation of our vision,” Dreyer summarizes. “It’s so liberating to be able to share that with my bandmates and have a collective creative identity that doesn’t feel impeded by anything longing for success. It’s just a lot of fun.”