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Marriage, birth, death, departure; for Dispatch’s Chadwick Stokes and Brad Corrigan, the only constant these past few years has been change. Add to that an exceedingly tense political climate, long-overdue reckonings on racial justice and gender equality, and a runaway global pandemic, and you’ve got an idea of what’s behind the band’s extraordinary new multi-part album. Marking Dispatch’s eighth studio release and first full-length collection without longtime member Pete Francis, the new album will arrive in a series of distinct phases, each consisting of three tracks inspired by the emotional stages of grief and transition. The songs here speak not only to the band’s personal evolution, but to human nature itself, charting a course from denial and resistance to growth and acceptance through deep introspection and empathetic character studies. Heady as that all may sound, the music is pure Dispatch, blending infectious roots rock with hints of reggae, folk, and blues, and the production is similarly lean and energetic, leaving plenty of space for some of the group’s most pointed, political lyrics to date. The result is a timely and essential album from a band still breaking new ground two-and-a-half decades into its storied career, an ode to resilience and survival that manages to find hope and joy on even the darkest of days.