Dispatch – America, Location 12
1.) Be Gone
2.) Only the Wild Ones
3.) Curse + Crush
4.) Painted Yellow Lines
5.) Skin The Rabbit
6.) Midnight Lorry
7.) Begin Again
8.) Rice Water
10.) Ghost Town
11.) Atticus Cobain
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: June 2nd, 2017
Record Label: Bomber Records, LLC
Official Website: Dispatch Website
Dispatch is a self-proclaimed “funk and reggae packed rock band” originating from Middlebury, VT. Throughout the past decade, the musical output from Dispatch has been patchy – aside from having headlined and sold out a three-night reunion run at Madison Square Garden in 2007 and releasing Circles Around The Sun (their first album in over a decade at the time in 2012), things had become relatively quiet out of the Dispatch camp. The indie trio has returned with their latest release America, Location 12 – their sixth full-length studio album since their musical inception in 1996. The band is comprised of Chadwick Stokes Urmston, Pete Francis and Brad Corrigan.
Throughout the course of their musical careers spanning over 20 years (if you don’t count their brief stints of hiatus), Dispatch have been hard to classify into one genre over another. Reggae, funk, rock, jamband, etc. – file them under whatever you’d like to, as this has been one of their most redeeming qualities propelling them into musical stardom.
Circles Around the Sun, their most recent release five years ago — was just pretty, pretty, pretty mediocre (Larry David voice) at best for me. The album left a LOT on the table, felt incomplete and left much more to be desired. I was pretty much ready to focus on the Bang Bang and Silent Steeples days moving forward. But then, Dispatch dropped “Only the Wild Ones” as the first single from their forthcoming album back in February.
“Only the Wild Ones” is a vibrant, wake-up-and-have-fun type of track. Painting a picture of a sunny day, the song opens up with hints of light acoustic guitars, eventually adding layers and morphing itself into a folk-rock song by the time it concludes. I honestly listened to this track at least 10 times the first day it dropped, and it served as the ideal foretaste for America, Location 12 in advance of the record hitting the streets.
The other 10 tracks on the album can’t stack up against that song, right? It would be an unfair request, as their previous album was exceptionally top-heavy and fell off towards the end. From the moment “Be Gone” kicks off the album with its fret-board exploration intro riff paired with its accelerating vocals, Dispatch hit the ground running and don’t look back on America, Location 12.
The album pays homage to a fair amount of other influences and artists. Could just be me, but when I heard the first portion of “Painted Yellow Lines” – I actually heard some Blue Oyster Cult “Don’t’ Fear the Reaper” action (without Will Ferrell on the cowbell). The track has clean distortion and nourishing lyrics. And then you have “Skin the Rabbit” – my personal favorite. The chugging, groovy intro identifies as the most addictive of riffs from the Stokes/Francis/Corrigan tripod, and paves the way for another monumental chorus.
The album is politically charged at times, sure, and the lyrics are pretty riveting and thought-provoking to say the least. But it was the music in general that reigned supreme for me — I didn’t even try to dissect the lyrics and meaning of the tracks at first until after I realized I was just nodding my head and having fun rocking out to the record. Expect to leave with an appreciation of the instrumentals and the story-telling imagery after listening to America, Location 12. It’s difficult to find moments of weakness on this record, and Dispatch has officially washed away any doubts that their best years are behind them.
Written & Reviewed By: Brian Glaser
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]
Listen: Dispatch – “Only the Wild Ones”
Listen: Dispatch – “Painted Yellow Lines”