Dispatch‘s fifth studio album is quite a surprise.
“Circles Around the Sun,” released in August, is certainly a different direction than previous albums but has much of what the band does best–the recognizable harmonies are still there.
Once a band with soft, grooving tunes, listening to Dispatch’s new album feels more like listening to a rock band. But don’t worry, Dispatch doesn’t forget its roots.
Dispatch fans in the past have been accustomed to the popular folk-rock band’s soothing, laid-back style of stellar harmonies backing every song.
“Circles Around the Sun” roars into life with a song with the same album name. It takes a bit of an upbeat rock personality that is borrowed from Urmston’s other band, State Radio. “Not Messin’” and “Sign of the Times” both have a Dispatch feel to them, with a bit of a spin. Harmonies are present, but the songs cement the idea that Dispatch is progressing their craft.
Chadwick “Stokes” Urmston, Brad “Braddigan” Corrigan and Pete Francis Heimbold have always been a great trio because they each play multiple instruments and sing very well.
The best song on the album by far is “Josaphine.” This song is classic Dispatch, it’s the sort of song you can put on a stereo, recline on a large couch and watch the sunset out of floor-to-ceiling windows. It has a relaxing feel and the harmonies are spot-on.
In a way, “Josaphine” is a tease because many Dispatch fans assumed the album would be stocked with such songs, but the album shows the band’s progression.
The back half of the album is arguably better–it is also more like the old Dispatch. “Flag” and “Come to Me” are fantastic and display those amazing harmonies. The next two songs bring more of the same and will have you grooving into the comforting finale, “Feels So Good.”
“Circles Around the Sun” is clearly a “Dispatch” album, but demonstrates the experiences the three members have gathered since their break-up in the mid-2000s; Corrigan and Heimbold with solo work, and Urmston with both solo and work with State Radio.
The D.C. concert is sold out, but if you really want to see Dispatch live, go to the show in Philadelphia on October 9 for $59.
“Circles Around the Sun” is worth a listen and gets 4.5 stars out of 5.