Elizabeth Stolfi
staff writer
April 15, 2003
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Desaparecidos
Read Music Speak Spanish

"There are no art forms now, just capitalism"

Now that Conner Oberst has established himself as Indie music's new King with his critically acclaimed band Bright Eyes, he is straying far from his experimental art rock and deeply emotional love/anti-love lyrics. In Desaparecidos, Oberst plays the tortured soul of an overly commercialized society that wants to feed him Starbucks coffee and turn his mod vinyl shop into a Sam Goody. Desaparecidos' debut album, Read Music Speak Spanish, is catching on where Bright Eyes left off, and possibly crossing over into the mainstream.

Feedback and distortion along with dull clacking drums and powerful lyrics screamed to their full potential seem to be the formula for this new Saddle Creek endeavor. Bands like Cursive and The Faint are quickly putting Saddle Creek Records on the indie label map. Now Desaparecidos may be putting them in the living rooms of your average Starbucks loving teenager.

"Today we are giving birth to a new future," states Oberst carrying the torch of a messy haired unpolished generation in the album's strongest track "Manana". With vocals that yell as loud as the distorted guitar and bass, Conner begins his preaching. In "Greater Omaha", the overall theme of the album's lyrics become perfectly clear. "They're widening Easy street to fit more S.U.V's." And it gets pretty self explanatory from there.

Musically, the guitars fit together like a perfect indie rock puzzle. The lead parts along with the scratchy bass lines (never consisting of more than 4 notes, of course) seem typical, and original at the same time. The combination of that and the help of perhaps the best lyricist in music today make for something that definitely has the potential to become much bigger than an anti-Omaha bible.

Release date: February 19, 2002
Label: Saddle Creek
Rating: 8.5 / 10

[RMR]