Saddle Creek | Desaparecidos | Reviews


Read Music / Speak Spanish

Author: Ryan Potts
2/11/2002 | | | Album Review
This is what Weezer should have sounded like by now - if Rivers' hadn't succumbed to formulaic pop rock pretenses that laced the Green Album to no end and continued in pursuit of feedback driven bliss that lacerated Pinkerton. This is what Frank Black envisioned rock to sound like in the post-millennia era when his Pixies burned the rock rulebook in the late '80s to reupholster an entire forthcoming generation of bands. This is loud, honest and oh so endearing. Of course I speak of Omaha's Desaparecidos whose Saddle Creek debut assemblages rock music that is thick, distorted and, well, absolutely fabulous. Excited yet? Me too.
If you have ever dabbled in the indie rock realm, chances are that you've perused across the name Bright Eyes and their master of ceremonies in Conor Oberst who revels below a twisted confessional narration of songwriting. Desaparecidos amasses its corpulent rock around the same voice of Oberst, but where introspective whispers once dripped with despondency now sear with societal scorn. Substantiating that Desaparecidos' Read Music - Speak Spanish is loud in every connotation of the word: musically, lyrically and stylistically. And you can feel the difference - this is music that actually has something to say.
In a post-September 11th hangover, the United States' citizenry is seemingly diffident to protest any warfare allegations in the Middle East or speak a true piece of mind - defying what this very nation was founded upon: freedom. You can love or hate Oberst, but you can't deny his lyrical scribes that tear pages from liberal and modern progressivism handbooks alike: "I don't want to be ashamed to be American / But opportunity, no it don't exist / It's the opiate of the populace."
Although shredding conformity by denouncing this nation's "dream" of materialism may be antagonistic to the recent influx in the proud-to-be-an-American schtick, this element only further insinuates the ruminating honesty and musing nature of Read Music - Speak Spanish. Whether Oberst is bellowing with every oppressed bone in his body or injecting his stratums of captivating pop, his voice drips with sour scrawls of lyrical cynicism beneath a sweet bite of addicting sugar.
From that juncture on, the music is all power - choppy power chords, powerful percussion bombast and keyboards powerful enough to suffice Read Music - Speak Spanish to be decorously plunked under that "eclectic" tag. This quintet brings the rock in all the pertinent locales. It's all there - the epileptic distortion, the wails of drums that stomp along a steady beat stronger than a spasmodic jackhammer and fun-infused bass blares. All these aesthetics prove to be symptoms of the veritable rock plague that sadly infects only an under appreciated minority.
Matching Milemarker's immersion of distorted keyboards and At the Drive-In's niche for neurotic guitars, Desaparecidos is a true modern rock juggernaut - like Superman in an orb of radio suctioned weaklings. All of these neoteric rock and roll ethics are succinctly compacted in the closing track, 'Hole in One,' that is omnipotent enough to knock you on your ass, but sweet and catchy enough for you to come back again and again and again.
But what makes Read Music - Speak Spanish so addicting and so alluring is not that it's groundbreaking or overtly original, but instead that it showboats heaps of charisma and unquestionable charm - ideals seemingly lost in this downtrodden world of indie rock. Not only that, but it truly rocks - and it rocks righteously. And all five of these Bible belt kids know it.
Take a listen to Read Music - Speak Spanish and retain that nostalgic feel of what it was like to have a knack for rock and pretentiously show it off. However, that sentimental feel is soon obliterated by mind mauling distortion and lyrics of liberalism while a solitary fact resides in your mind - that this is indeed the hopeful future of rock, not a dismal listen back to the forefathers. And for those to depose Desaparecidos as a Bright Eye's offshoot, realize one truism - this isn't just a branch of Conor Oberst's side projects, it's a whole new fucking forest.


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