I’m in a summery mood this week what with the temperature in the late 20s and the distinct lack of air conditioning in the office here at Urban Industry. ‘Read Music/Speak Spanish’ by Desaparecidos is my go-to warm weather album, maybe a joint tie with Weezer’s ‘Blue Album’. Released way back in 2002 (something of a recurring theme with these Friday Tunes picks); the album exists as the band’s sole full-length LP. Formed in Omaha, Nebraska by Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and a group of friends that made up his backing band as well as other local acts such as Statistics, Desaparecidos shone very brightly if only for a short period of time.
The album is brimming with noisy energy and clocks in at around the half hour mark. If you’re a fan of Oberst’s confessional/overly earnest signwriting style with Bright Eyes (which I’m not), then Desaparecidos will sound like a whole different proposition altogether. Opening track ‘What’s New For Fall’ sets out the stall for what will follow with a wall of distorted guitar fuzz and Oberst yelping over the top. “What’s new for Fall by Spring means nothing” is a particularly apt lyric for a song that deals with the fickle nature of fashion and the pressure it puts on kids to look the part. In fairness there’s some pretty weighty topics tackled over the course of the album. Oberst’s concerns with his small town falling prey to the chain store machine, the strains of the working life on our relationships, corporate greed – all of these subjects are fed through Oberst’s pained vocals. If this all sounds a bit too emo-ish and overly serious then fret not. This is a noisy mess of an album, but it’s shot through with a glorious sense of melody that recalls Weezer at their power-pop best. Tracks like ‘Manana’ have that instant burst of energy that is hard not to get swept up in. If you’ve not checked out this album before, then I definitely recommend you press the play button on the video above!