Saddle Creek | Desaparecidos | Reviews


The Happiest Place on Earth

Author: A.K. Gold
12/11/2001 | Nude as the News | | Album Review
Rating: 8.5/10
Just when I was beginning to write off the acoustic arrangements that Bright Eyes keeps churning out Conor Oberst up and starts a rock band. And seemingly just to show me(egocentric to the fullest), The Happiest Place on Earth single and the band's performance that I saw a couple of weeks back indicate that they're really freakin' good. From the title track, it appears that Oberst has learned to play electric guitar and has surrounded himself with a crew of enthusiastic and skilled musicians who can capably rock out. "The Happiest Place on Earth" finds the singer/songwriter exploring the lacuna between the American dream and reality. In his overwrought, but somehow-still-works style, he proves that he's read his Marx as he proclaims "Opportunity, it don't exist / It's the opiate of the populace." While on the intro to "What's New for Fall" finds guitarist Denver Dalley and drummer Matt Baum combining their raw instrumental force with Ian McElroy's quirky keyboards for a nearly perfect power pop moment. And even vocalist/bassist Landon Hedges' sincere singing holds its own against Oberst's harrowing outbursts on the single's final track, "Give Me the Pen." These three songs serve as a preview to the full length record, Read Music, Speak Spanish, that Desaparecidos will be releasing in January. I, for one, am greatly looking forward to it.


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