Roots rock with societal tension
Rooted in tension, Dispatch’s newest adventure, Break Our Fall, traverses the modern world’s political tension, halted reckonings for change and need for more equality—all of which fuel this album. While this is a common topical serum to drink from, Dispatch attempts to make it their own. The east-coast established group has seen change within their band as well. Over time, the band has seen several musical hiatuses, but the departure of long-time bassist Pete Francis Heimbold, due to a battle with depression, left the band as a duo. Chadwick Stokes and Brad Corrigan made this album in wake of this event and funneling societal tension into unique indie music.
The music is rock roots, blending Dispatch’s style with blues, reggae and folk. The album remains lean but fortified—leaving room for creativity and emotion to take part. It contains the sunlit joys of a summer afternoon and a litany of modern emotion and fears, providing a range of new musical talents from the boys in Dispatch. The opener, “May We All,” solidifies this with a hint of folk rooting in the rock they aim to provide. While this song simmers, “All This Time” laments a direction for this country with no restraint, commentating on the current political climate.
Crafting more cathartics in their music, “Break Our Fall” follows an indie rock journey, overcoming the unstoppability of someone in the heat of the moment with exuberant acoustic guitar and prominent vocals. “Second Class Soldier” follows a similar tune, adding enlightening energy to the rhythm, which differentiates it from other tracks.
For a Tom Petty vibe, skip to “The Legend of Connie Hawkins” to relive a past sound. While it starts slow, it quickly shimmies into rock music, bouncing off old sounds to make a new one. It borders being contrived, but nevertheless, it works the roots angle well. A bit heavier, but worth the listen, is “Greta.” Adding a bit more edge to the still water that is this album, this track is intriguing and has depth—which the rest of the album would most certainly benefit from having.
Sticking out like a sore thumb is “Promise Land,” a song that lacks both emotion and drive. It tries to be heartfelt but lacks to connection needed to the listener. Songs like “Born On Earth” and “Elevator Operator” sound too familiar. With its occasional folk whistle and farmhand melodies, it needs more to make it worth repeating. They slow down and speed up like a car in rush hour traffic, making one dizzy after a prolonged listen.
Break Our Fall was long-awaited for Dispatch’s fans. Years of tumultuous events caused the band to use change as a constant in their musical career. This album is roots rock but seems to be misplaced, or even lost, in its own identity. But their effort to create music to match current social commentary simply isn’t that good. It seemed forced, unnatural. Not that their opinion is invalid, but the delivery of the music itself came short of what it was trying to do.