Having been 13 years since their last full-length release ‘Read Music/Speak Spanish’ you can be forgiven for having forgotten how good Desaparecidos are. However with ‘Payola’ the band have reaffirmed their talent and power in the Punk world with this release. Loud, thunderous and catchy are just some of the words to describe the behemoth sound of this album.
Desaparecidos, originally a side project of front man Conor Oberst from his original band Bright Eyes, regrouped officially back in 2012 and plans for this album have been in place and worked on ever since.
If one thing hasn’t changed for Desaparecidos in the long 13 years since their last release, it is that they are still angry and they are still striving to talk about important political and social problems in their work. Oberst utilizes the band to explore a heavier and more abrasive side of music and through the album the band discuss the problems of Capitalism and other political and socially relevant problems in America and the rest of the world. In opener ‘ The Left is Right’ Oberst, like a revolutionary leader orders listeners “to chain ourselves to the ATM’s” and take “Baseball bats to Limousines”. Clearly Oberst is aligning himself with the “Occupy” movements of previous years within the lyrics of this song. Further along ‘MariKKKopa’ deals with the story of a Police Sherriff in Arizona found guilty of racial profiling and other racially discriminatory acts whilst in charge of the county. Desaparecidos choose to pinpoint this highly relevant and poignant political theme within this song by both condemning and highlighting the inherent problems of racism in America right now. The album is riddled with snapshots of Oberst’s call to arms in standing for something and his criticisms of the injustices seen across the world.
Although aurally ‘Payola’ sounds chaotic and brash, sometimes feeling like there are a million things going on all at once, there is clear evidence of thought and consideration for the way this album was made and constructed by the band. This can be seen in the superb transition between the tracks ‘Ralphy’s Cut’ and then into ‘Backsell’ being a real highlight of the LP. This consideration perfectly combines lyrical content that is politically important alongside memorable riffs and heart pounding music that makes you want to get up and do something about the problems discussed. ‘City on the Hill’ the band’s leading single from this release is also, again an excellent track that combines catchy riffs with lyrics that mean something, everything Desaparecidos are aiming for. The final track of the album ‘Anonymous’ is a wonderful, euphoric song going back to the themes of revolution with Oberst screeching “you can’t stop us we are anonymous!” bringing this 100 mile an hour album to a powerful and memorable close.
‘Payola’ is an album that is important in 2015. This is classic Punk rock at its finest, coupling infectious riffs with socially conscious lyrics. They may have released their first album over a decade ago, writing songs concerned with the world immediately after 9/11, but the world is still rife with many important and unsolved political and social problems and Desaparecidos seem to be the band that are determined to address them with their brand of roaring, revolutionary Punk rock.
‘Payola’ is out now on Epitaph
The full track-listing for ‘Payola’ is as follows…