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Desaparecidos: Payola


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From Consequence Of Sound:
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“Since the last Desaparecidos album, Conor Oberst has aged thirteen years. If you’ve kept up with his songwriting with Bright Eyes, Monsters of Folk, or his work as simply Conor Oberst, you’ve noticed maturity has impacted his music on all fronts. There’s been a move away from his boyish, emotional lyrics, and his sonic arrangements shun lo-fi home recordings, growing in scope as cohort Mike Mogis has improved in his own right as a producer. As Oberst has grown up, so has his audience, and a turn from the songs that first got him noticed has always been appropriate, with a return to the music of Oberst’s youth never really considered a possibility either within the confines of Bright Eyes or under his own name. This rule of thumb does not apply to Desaparecidos. The Omaha-based five-piece have picked up right where they left off with the now beloved Read Music/Speak Spanish, turning any notion that sonic growth is required as decades pass into vapor of flawed logic. Instead, the new album, Payola, sounds perfectly at place next to Read Music/Speak Spanish, yet never requires a familiarity with anything Oberst has made before to appreciate the inciting content or punk-indebted, melodically inviting songwriting. This makes Desaparecidos’ move to punk’s preeminent label, Epitaph, make all the more sense, even if it’s surprising to see Oberst working outside his own longtime label, Saddle Creek. In the end, Desaparecidos are making a play to reach beyond Oberst’s built-in niche. Sure, Mogis is still turning the knobs, but the band is presented as a band apart from Oberst’s personality, with longtime members Landon Hedges, Matt Baum, Denver Dalley, and Ian McElroy all integral to the process of making Desaparecidos work as a group effort. Instrumental sections like the big finish of “10 Steps Behind” and the riff around which “MariKKKopa” is built are as memorable as any of Oberst’s fiery words. The overall impression is that Oberst couldn’t do this on his own, and his reliance on others may be the ultimate sign of maturity. At that, Payola is more than its politics, more than Oberst’s star power, and more than a nostalgia trip for people who adored the group’s debut in 2002. Few bands can return after a 13-year absence and sound vital and fresh, transforming an old-school approach into a process that sounds original. That’s precisely what Desaparecidos have done, making Payola a welcome comeback surprise.”
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Payola is out now on Epitaph; check out “City On The Hill” below.
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About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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