Desaparecidos - Read Music / Speak Spanish (Cover Artwork)


Read Music / Speak Spanish (2002)

Saddle Creek

Saddle Creek Records looooooves them concepts.

As CURSIVE's Domestica was essentially conceptual, so is the band, The (Los) Desaparecidos. BRIGHT EYES' tragic hero, Conor Oberst, takes his shot at urban sprawl, minimum wage and many other politi-punk topics while keeping it dreadfully bleak (and unashamedly typical) Saddle Creek emo.

Trading in his awkward acoustic for a gritty half-stack, Oberst and members of various other Omaha based indie-rock ventures recycle BRIGHT EYES' chord progressions, add CURSIVE-esque leads (disappointingly dumbed down) and sloppy bass-snare drums to sound like a drunk, pissed off and well-read JIMMY EAT WORLD (devoid of singing lessons as well).

All roads lead to mediocrity in the market of emo-core-punk-pop, but LOS DESAPARECIDOS comes off sounding like seventeen-year-olds with a digital eight track, bones to pick and a talent to throw down rock in a genre defined by gloss and clout.

Oberst is yet to write song that does not hit hard and creep down one's spine with his signature overly vibrato baritone and even supplanting self-depricating verse with anti-establishment rhetoric he sounds worthy of empathy or at least a hug.

"Happiest Place On Earth," takes center stage with a creeping sense of anger and a pleasing break out with corresponding lead. Some tracks are laced with Fevers and Mirrors-like keyboard, often floating and dissonant, while the muddy guitars collide over and over again, jolting one into quiet sumbmission.

"Yes Connor, I believe you. We will buy that house next to the park," you whisper to no one.

So roll down the windows, play pretend and let the dry Nebraska air blow through your greasy black hair on one's way to the video store to rent Fight Club and turn up the treble. Any given post-pubescent human can match vocals with Oberst, so let it rip.

This reviewer has only one question:

Is Omaha that bad?