Review Summary: Politically charged Indie/Pop from Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst. A must for Bright Eyes fans, but also a strong stand alone album.
Released in 2002, this the only Desaparecidos record to date, is the indie/rock side project of Bright Eyes front man, Conor Oberst. The sound is reminiscent of At the Drive-In and Cursive with a more story telling lyrical style and a bit more pop. Conor may have gone on to write politically motivated songs on his later records as Bright Eyes but its clear that at the time this was an outlet for Conor disenfranchisement with America, in particular its materialism and imperialistic foreign policy. The opening line to “The Happiest Place on Earth” reading, “I want to pledge allegiance to the country where I live I don't want to be ashamed to be American.” The music is a chaotic amalgamation of chaotic but on occasion’s melodic guitar tones. There are usually a lot of guitar parts which compliments Conor’s emotive and passionate vocals perfectly.
The Album kicks of which the line, “into corduroys or jeans, chinos or capris
sweater vest no sleeves, oxford underneath or whatever you think
I mean whatever is gonna make you want me.” Anyone who knows their Bright Eyes knows that the lyrics are almost unmatched, even if he at times go over the top trying to emulate Dylan. “What’s New for Fall” is far from the best material here but its still a great opener and a strong song in its own right. It is followed by, “Man and Wife: The Former” which is the first of a two part song about a failing relationship, the classic story of a woman with all the possessions in the world, but is left far from satisfied. Despite the lyrical content the song has an upbeat poppy feel and a strong hook. This really sums it how this album works.
“Greater Omaha” has a great repeating riff played under fuzzy power chords. The chorus is just stunning as he cries out in catharsis the line, “Just one more mouthful and they will be happy then.” The vocals are raw, aggressive and everything you could want. It’s a stand out track, but having said that the quality of this album makes it really quite difficult to pick a favorite. There’s no singles per se, but when put together it all just seems to make sense, kind of like the new Thursday album. “Man and Wife: The Latter” is a slower, more melodic song. But at the same it builds up into a great crescendo to finish, truly excellent stuff. "The Happiest Place On Earth" he rides a crest of buzzsaw guitar and staccato drums while lyrically it focuses on post 9/11 jingoism, "I got a letter from the Army so I think that I'll enlist, I'm not brave or proud of nothing, I just want to kill something, Too bad nowadays you just point and click, swing low satellite, hot white chariot." The final track of particular note is the strangely titled, “$$$$.” Featuring samples from the most shameless commercials and a relentless attack on globalization, the lyrics, “I'm gonna start a factory, the size of a country. I'm gonna teach them all to work for liberty oh but I'm not one for handouts, no they got to pay their dues, they can make our shoes, and then we'll walk on you.”
Read Music/Speak Spanish it short at just over half an hour but is well worth every penny. There is almost something for everyone here. The guitar effects remind me of Worship and Tribute by Glassjaw, the song writing is classic Bright Eyes and the overall sound is really its own. Unlike many side-projects (Boxcar Racer, Prize Fighter Inferno) this band could of made something on their own right, if not to the same extent as Bright Eyes.