A distant bass pulses while guitar chords echo out and electronic time-shift-esque warps rush by. Dispose has begun.
“RIGGED” is the first on the 10 track album from the Ohio based rock band, which was introduced in part to the world via singles “NOT JUST BREATHING” and “FEEL NOTHING”, as well as distorted samples. The Plot In You is the collective creative expression of band members Landon Tewers (vocals), Josh Childress (guitar), Ethan Yoder (bass) and Mathis Arnell (drums).
On “RIGGED”, the gradually building layers, building in volume and clarity, are joined by Landon’s wavering and emotional voice as it strikes barbs ‘I will never make the mistake of letting some crooked motherfucker steal the life from every one of my veins’. The velvet voice hits the highest of heights yet in a breath transforms to distorted aggression, with thumping drums signalling a drop into sonic massiveness.
We’re swimming in sound and collisions now, in confrontation and questions. More electronic than rock, “RIGGED” is an otherworldly introduction to Dispose, a brilliant combination of experimentation and emotional fire.
‘What’s left in me? Guess we’ll see. Didn’t see this coming.’
In our interview with Landon, he shared that this track is specific to the music industry, and along with the album’s theme of freedom from toxic relationships, is a huge fireball of change-inspiring fury as they peel themselves out of the clutches of control.
As if the reality-ripping track hadn’t just happened, we then find ourselves in the gentle introduction of “NOT JUST BREATHING”. The Plot In You do severe dynamic twists like it’s nothing, taking us with them from vulnerable honesty to blistering triumph in a flash. The grandeur of rock in this track becomes a very satisfying stage being set from which to rip to pieces the vacant and living dead.
‘At least I know I’m alive’.
In “NOT JUST BREATHING”, a former love is being assessed, also judged and farewelled. The glimmers of hope that exist here are emitted while wrapped in doubt, culminating in a forceful shove to eradicate this experience from his life (’Stay away from me’). Orchestral elements add depth to the message, feeling like there could be far more said that is not.
Orchestral elements continue, opening “ONE LAST TIME” also, along with pounding drums and searching guitar. Within 20 seconds it’s quiet again with the spotlight on the story being shared vocally. Vulnerably Landon is pouring out a description of the effort he’s put into remedying things. Soon he’s lost under layers of sound, having to scream to be heard. As the moving and building track moves on, it feels like ache and effort, wanting to give up. In our interview, Landon shared that all of the tracks centre around different nuances of the one relationship.
Raw-ly and confrontingly “I ALWAYS WANTED TO LEAVE” begins; feeling like a long-held admission (like ‘there, I’ve said it’). Discomfort in honesty, the high and light yet impactful vocals are speaking out loud a desire to break free of the situation of trying. Slow beats, searching melody and electronic hums build with the raw vocals, feeling like overwhelm with so much going on. We fall into a moment of jangling anticipation where a soundbite of someone professing their love is heard, adding to a sense of discomfort in the strong desire to be out of a relationship with someone so deeply invested. This track hangs like a heavy ache in the chest. We can’t wait for the music video for this track that’ll be coming our way very soon.
“FEEL NOTHING” is yet another chapter of confession, where piano and warm chords join honesty. Soon a wall of enoughness is hit where calm honesty grows claws and gains aggression. The huge rock track is a vehicle that can be barely subdued, with Landon’s vocal ache being only momentarily contained before swiftly growing again, and wielding flames. The track hits peak magnificence at it’s bridge, when this vehicle mows everything down in strength, with a confident voice remaining without any doubt.
‘It’s too late. It’s too late. I’ve buried this and it’s evident you won’t change.’
The metallic and experimental “HAPPY” is 61 seconds of morphing in and out, sound collisions, breaths and beats. A sound bite about how two were ‘making the other suffer’ continues Dispose‘s thread of relationship toxicity. He’s still ‘seeing her face on everyone else’, which captures the ache of the experience and the inner wrestling that’s going on; a very true snapshot of the demise of a relationship. “I think I’m happy knowing you aren’t” is such a satisfying lyric.
In direct contrast to the experimental nature of “HAPPY”, “THE ONE YOU LOVED” feels oddly straight/traditional. In this warm and melodic track, the feelings of disconnect with futile efforts to improve things take centre stage. A moment of distorted spoken word shifts into a building piece with humble vocals growing into exasperation. Accents like these as well as the isolated ending vocal after the full sound of the ending make for consistent attention holding through the album.
‘Was there someone else? I can’t get through to you.’
With the driving guitar, strong drums and backing vocals of the introduction of “PAID IN FULL”, I already can hear the comparisons to Bring Me The Horizon, a la “Avalanche”. That ‘lens’ should be quickly dropped though, as the signature Plot sound is here. Earnest attempts to get through have been tried and again the point has been reached where he’s making it clear that he’s done with trying and has hit defeat and is letting go. The track is heavy in fight, scarred and bruised from breaking through to gain freedom.
I could picture “THE SOUND” happening in amongst the settled rubble of an impressive destruction, as this clear and quiet track opens. A reflective voice and guitar are present, making soft observations. In the absence of fight, this track feels more of a calm separation and accepting what that means more than vicious confrontation.
“DISPOSABLE FIX” closes the album and is so experimental that it’s tough to put into words. This isn’t a track to be summed up easily. It’s a slice of storytelling, but it’s musically unpredictable. The track begins with somber and gentle guitar but with obvious edits, adding a feeling of unease. It has raw vocals, Landon’s laugh, but there’s moments of angelic harmonies, and moments of acapella. My feeling for the first minute, absorbing the digital vibrations/percussion/chirps/notes, soft thumps as this story unfolds is ‘where is this song going?’. In fact there’s so much to take in by way of the sounds, I found it hard to follow the song. And yet I love it.
‘And I say ‘Give me a break, I’m only human!’’
Around 2:15 when all the pieces seem to pull together, it feels like a satisfying breakthrough: ‘I’ve got nothing to lose.’ And then as the track closes, it’s as if we lose grip again and are back in experimentation mode again. As Landon shared in our interview, experimentation is something they’re keen to continue with, with “DISPOSABLE FIX” and “RIGGED” his favourites of the album.
Having absorbed all of the tracks of the Dispose leaves me with the tough task of summarising this album and assessing it. Dispose isn’t just defiant and defensive anthems as in the singles. To me, Dispose represents the attempt to creatively drain oneself of emotion from dying relationship(s), with each track being another angle of that. The product of that ’emotional exorcism’ is ten tracks of vulnerable, raw, honest, creatively free, massive and pushed toward experimentation. Dispose feels like a satisfying exhalation into freedom, after being tied up and stuck for so long.
An open creative outpouring; massive and genuine, spanning from introspective reflection through to violent rage, with no boundaries on how this is expressed.
I craved a solid point of resolution/closure to the relationship anguish. Maybe the fact that it's not there is the point of the whole thing..