La Dispute – A Kind of Appreciation. Public health warning, listening to this band is bad for you.

Post-hardcore / screamo band La Dispute have a fan in Ian Critchley, a man who’s happy for the band to get under his skin. He also urges you to try and scratch the itch too.

Heed my words. La Dispute are not a band. La Dispute are an infection. A scratch that cannot be itched, as it has burrowed so deep into your pre-frontal cortex that to reach it would require a D.I.Y lobotomy, no doubt resulting in death. La Dispute are a beetle crawling through your hypothalamus that refuses to die, laying its eggs, causing the disease to multiply and spread.

I know this because I myself have been infected.

So much so that I now spend mornings contemplating the intricacy and depth of the lyrics in the same way a scholar would ponder Kant, Plato, or that arsehole Descartes. And so much so that even when I’m not listening to them I seem to constantly have some introductory riff or mid-song segment on a constant loop in my brain. Even as I’m editing this piece I’m reading it back to myself with a similar vocal rhythm to that of their song,  Such Small Hands (see video below).

I first heard of La Dispute whilst covering a festival in Italy (which you can read about here) and was completely blown away, calling them “the bastard child of an orgy featuring Thursday and Fugazi.” And though I still maintain that comparison has validity, I’d move myself forward to say that the sound was more of a fine line between Glassjaw’s Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence and Thursday’s almost forgotten relic, Waiting. It’s a mix of the anger that causes you to punch the wall and break your fist in fury at the loss of a lover, but also the crying alone in your bedroom writing poetry afterwards.


When I was in my mid-teens I found immense pleasure in using my favourite lyrics as a way to impress or insult girls. I remember one time, after walking six hours, 20 miles to tell a girl I loved her only to find she wasn’t home, calling her (my then infatuation) explaining my quest with the words “a thousand miles ain’t shit to walk, if I’m walking to hold you” (Alkaline Trio, Fine Without You). And another at a New Year party after a huge argument with a girl I nearly ended up with, resulting in the text message, “I wish you a broken heart, and a Happy New Year” (Glassjaw, Pretty Lush). La Dispute’s lyrics are filled with these kind of gems and, even though I’ve grown past what can only be described as the pathetic theft of good lyrics, I often wish I’d been armed with word bombs such as “and if I do not miss a part of you, a part of me is dead” (Andria) and, “so, do yourself a little favour, savour every time you waver, for that shaking in my voice was only slyly feigned chagrin” (Said The King To The River). My arsenal of lyrical weaponry would have been far better stocked…though it still wouldn’t have got me anywhere.

So don’t listen to La Dispute. Regardless of how great you find their hypnotic amalgamation of post-hardcore, punk, jazz, and blues pleasing at first, which it very much is. Or how you may view vocalist Jordan Dreyer as some kind of modern day answer to Pablo Neruda which, in many ways, he is. But if you continue to listen to these five miscreants you will soon find yourself breaking many finger bones, crying a whole lot, and then texting girls you fancy weird shit that will freak them out and make them not want to touch your cock … which in turn will result in breaking many finger bones, crying a whole lot … you catch my drift.


If you still want to take the risk, stream La Dispute’s last album ‘Wildlife’ at their Website here.

They are signed to No Sleep Records  and can be found on Facebook, Bandcamp, and Twitter.

All words by Ian Critchley. You can find more writing by Ian at his author’s archive here.

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