Despistado - The People Of And Their Verses (Cover Artwork)


The People Of And Their Verses (2005)

Jade Tree

Why is it that bands who are far past their prime will continue to crank out mediocre album after mediocre album, but bands that exhibit potential for creating some worthwhile material will call it quits much too early? After only one EP on Jade Tree, Despistado posted notice of their disbandment before their first full-length was even released. Yes, it is a shame that we cannot look forward to anymore releases from these post-punk upstarts, but at least The People Of And Their Verses is a fitting swansong for a band that was loaded with promise.

Their first and last album, which is a download-only release, is an explosive masterpiece. All twelve songs are packed full of power and attitude. The band still bares a lot of resemblance to Acrobatic Tenementera At The Drive-In with their clean guitars, raw production, interesting rhythms and shouted vocals, but this time around there seems to be even more emphasis on groove as the band incorporates Q And Not U-styled dance punk elements into nearly every song.

The album opens with the bouncy "Burning House," a song that will leave you wanting to shake to the beat and punch holes in walls at the same time with its speedy drums, spastic guitars, and back-and-forth bass work. From there the album keeps up a non-stop adrenaline rush of choppy rhythms, dynamic shifts, and post-punk boogie. Tracks like "The Memory Of This History" and "If Relationships A Construct, Then I'm A Construction Worker" both recall Cap'n Jazz with their awkward, jazzy opening riffs before blasting full steam into pounding post-punk, while songs like "The People Of And Their Verses" and "This Neighbourhood" sound like Bloc Party if they listened to more Fugazi and less Gang Of Four, and "Test Tube" and "Who Do You Choose" ditch some of the dance elements for more straightforward rock that is fast and angry.

The band's music is not the only thing that is detailed and intelligent here; the lyrics are also a cut above average, and again recall bands like Q And Not U and At The Drive-In with their socio-political lean. When lines like, "They hold us down then tell us that it's gravity / they use words like 'natural' naturally," "Shoot your election / vote for your gun / the world's the equation / you come after the equal sign, son," "So let's hear it for the dialogue / let's hear it for the contemplation / middle finger your missile defense / my heart's taking unilateral action," are shouted, you realize this is a band with something to say and all the conviction to say it.

Maybe the end of the album is a bit weak with the strange spoken-word-into-stuttered pop ending to "Broken" and the sub-par lyrics on "My Definition Of A Tragedy," but you have to remember this is Despistado's first full-length, so subtle problems can be ignored when the rest of the album is so good.

It is a shame that Despistado have gone the way of the unprolific, but at least The People Of And Their Verses is a spectacular eulogy to help mourn the loss of a great band.