Dispatch: America, Location 12
Of the jam-lite, college-rock bands that cropped up in the ‘90s (think: Guster, O.A.R., G. Love & Special Sauce), Dispatch would be a dark horse pick for having the strongest act two decades on. But
here we are in 2017, and the band’s latest album, America, Location 12, is an infinitely enjoyable campfire collection of harmony-laden jewels. America is Dispatch’s first album since 2012’s solid, if unmemorable, Circles Around the Sun—and in that album’s failings, this one shines. The choruses of these 11 tracks spark to life, twirling deep into your memory; expect to catch yourself humming at inopportune times.
First single “Only the Wild Ones” finds Dispatch perfecting their original formula: wind-swept harmonies that ebb and flow with lyrics about having “no place to go but everywhere,” over minimal percussion and a gently funky guitar line. The song builds with the organic feel of a growing party—before you know it, you’re dancing with a drink in hand. Additional tunes like “Ghost Town” and “Curse + Crush” (with its instant earworm, “We fight, and we fuck, and we make up”) nail the vibe that defined Dispatch’s biggest cult favorite, “The General”—gorgeous, smile-inducing little sing-alongs made for friends, but irresistible enough for just you. Elsewhere, Dispatch turns up without losing their earthy warmth. Churning rocker “Skin the Rabbit” generates heat with a lumbering groove and a jigsaw-puzzle melody; album closer “Atticus Cobain” whips up garage-rock riffing and bluesy piano into what should be rock-radio gold.