There was a time when the Replacements were supposedly the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world. For Connor Oberst and Desaparecidos, that time never ended.
Oberst, best known as the motive force behind the gentle introversion of Bright Eyes, found a six-dollar distortion pedal and formed Desaparecidos, shedding the sensitivity for a dose of spit, spite and trashy guitar riffs.
Musically, Desaparecidos seem to take a cue from mid-’90s proto-emo bands such as Jawbreaker or J Church – the chunky chords alternating with bouncy picked melodies. Lyrically, too, Oberst rails against the suffocating suburban blanket and the pathos of working nine-to-five in a manner that is far more “punk” than anything Bright Eyes ever did.
But there is a trashy sloppiness to these tracks that put Desaparecidos more in line with Stink-era ‘Mats than the aforementioned marquee punk acts. The music on this album is rock ‘n’ roll for the sheer joy of it, with volume, chunky chords and a Westerbergian quaver supplanting such overrated factors as “musicianship” or “emotiveness.”
Which is not to say Oberst is a poor songwriter. On the contrary, he displays an instinct for a melody that is simple without seeming cheesy, for vocals that never quite pick up the polish of the rest of the recording but leave you singing to yourself all day nonetheless. The exception to this is “$$$$,” the only flaw of which is that it’s not as ridiculously catchy as everything else on the album.
And for those who made it through the ’80s listening to hair metal and missing out on Bastards of Young, Oberst gives you a chance to make up for lost time.
[DJ Fatkid was shot through the heart, and you’re to blame]