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Desa - Year in a Red Room (Cover Artwork)

Desa

Desa: Year in a Red RoomYear in a Red Room (2003)
Substandard

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: lesspunkthanyou
(others by this writer | submit your own)

This is DESA's new CD. Quick back story, there was this band called Link 80, they were Ska-Core, and from the east bay. After their original singer died (the superb Nick Traina), they shuffled through a vocalist or 2 before getting one Ryan Noble, they did a CD "The Struggle Continues" and a few tou.

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This is DESA's new CD. Quick back story, there was this band called Link 80, they were Ska-Core, and from the east bay. After their original singer died (the superb Nick Traina), they shuffled through a vocalist or 2 before getting one Ryan Noble, they did a CD "The Struggle Continues" and a few tours. The band was about 7 years old, and they needed a break. One member, Steve B, left to tour with the RxBandits and seems to be content playing there, and the other members locked themselves into their practice space for a year (which happens to be red, get it?), and started working on new material, without the constraints of writing material for Link 80.

I know, half of you don't care, and are waiting for the review. So, what kind of music is this? I would describe it as indie-post hardcore-rock, with a bit of emo thrown in for good measure. Yes, I said the "e" word, but don't go away yet.

This album follows their 4 track EP "Demonstrates Birth" and all those songs appear, in their re-recorded glory on this disc. A few of them are available for download on MP3.com. This cd has 12 tracks, 1 of them being acoustic. Gone are the ska guitar riffs and ska bass riffs. The bass is for the most part, more simplistic, with more root note patterns and fills, although Barry does a good job holding down the low end, and playing appropriately for the feel of each song (ie, some songs he goes more complicated, and some he stays simple). With the addition of a dedicated second guitar player, the guitar parts become more complicated and layer well with each other. Both Adam and Aaron share lead guitar duties at different parts, which I suppose pretains more to their live show duties than to the recording.

What I find interesting about the CD is that there is a surprising lack of choruses. Well, in the traditional sense that is. There are riffs inbetween what I guess is the verse, but the lyrics rarely repeat, save for a few of the songs ("Homicide At The Fountain Of Youth," and "Knives to the Brain," "Note Says Thanx" come to mind for those with discernable chorus'). Speaking of the lyrics, they're more abstract than those of Link 80....almost in a Chris Conley way, almost. Point is the songs don't follow a set structure (ie intro/verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/outro), its not preform rock.

My favorite track is "Knives to the Brain" the aforementioned acoustic track. Although admittedly, it may remind some of you of a Dashboard Confessional song. It would not be accurate to say however, that the rest of the album follows this trend. On the contrary, on the rest of the album, the band rocks out pretty hard. It has a little hardcore flavor (including background screams courtesy of guitar player Adam D that fit amazingly well, better than most bands with the backup screamer ::cough::TBS::cough::), some cool guitar solos, and solid drum work. The album was produced pretty well, and pretty bare bones, no multiple overdubs here, just a few added bonuses here and there (the ringing alarm clock on "Alarm Clock Screams," keyboards for a few seconds here and there, etc).

I guess DESA is somewhat of a side project, because I hear the guys still plan to cut another Link 80 album. And it's definetly not Link 80, so don't expect that. I for one, really dig it, it's not average run of the mill rock. Some people I've talked to are less than in favor of the vocals, and indeed, Ryan's singing isn't horrible similar to the last Link 80 album. He doesn't sing with the raw guttural voice, he sings more melodically, but I think it fits really well, but others might disagree. Anyways, since reviews are only one persons opinion, and not to be taken as the gospel truth, I give it a 9. I think some of the songs play better live, which could've been captured in the studio better, but maybe that was intentional, I don't really know. But a very cool departure for the norm for these guys. Download the EP versions of 3 songs at: mp3.com/DESA and decide for yourself.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (October 13, 2003)

Don't you think a book by a mother who just lost her son would be a little bias?!? It's not 100% fact based.. not by any means. The truth is.. only nick and the members of link80 know what happened. One more peice of knowledge.. nick was kicked out of link 80 before he passed away. And he wasn't the original singer of link 80. So, they should have changed the name after jeff acre (the original singer) left the band.
-tired friend of L80

Anonymous (October 10, 2003)

i also agree that Link 80 should have changed their name after Nick passed away. i didn't see if this was asked but does anyone have the book his mother wrote about him? if not you should pick it up.

-greyicewater

Anonymous (October 9, 2003)

The Struggle Continues is one of the best ska cd's ever. Nick was a sad loss, but the new guys vocals, and songs, on that cd are just superb.

-Greenvandal

Anonymous (October 9, 2003)

totally awesome.

Anonymous (October 9, 2003)

there's some great guitar work by these boys.

Anonymous (October 8, 2003)

the cover says

DE
SA

duh!!

Anonymous (October 8, 2003)

i would say yes, the cover IS a swastika. this band killed my jewish neighbor.

Anonymous (October 8, 2003)

YEAH I MISS NICK T. too. met him once at a link 80 show and bought a shirt off him. too bad all that talent went to waste. he had so much energy in his voice

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

Is the cover supposed to look like a swastika?

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

die funk, die!!!!

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

the best that you can do is fall in love.

funkisdead (October 7, 2003)

what happens when you get caught between the moon and new york city?

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

oh and the last comment was posted by skankin_in_the_pit

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

Nick Traina was one of my favorite singers before his death. I rarely go more then a few days without listening to early link 80 stuff or Knowledge.
I don't think desa is my cup of tea though.

P-Fresh (October 7, 2003)

I miss Nick Traina...I think Link80 should've changed their name after he passed away.

I do too Dane, and I agree.

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

i downloaded a few tracks and i have to say that they're pretty cool. I never liked link 80 so this is a welcome change for me.

Anonymous (October 7, 2003)

nope you said emo and i stopped reading

Hubitcherkokov (October 7, 2003)

I miss Nick Traina...I think Link80 should've changed their name after he passed away.

Anonymous (October 6, 2003)

Substandard is one of the best labels around.

Jon

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