Release Date: 23 June 2015
Label Epitaph Records Genre Post-Hardcore | Punk Rock
Is this the change we were hoping for, or are we really doomed? Desaparecidos is the alternative political band that’s hell bent on tackling social issues with garage band antics and infections anthems that are meant to be sung at every open-air festival in unison across the nation. Payola is only their second record to date, despite forming 14 years ago, in 2001. The group is the angst-driven side project of Bright Eyes, allowing for new sounds to be found by Conor Oberst.
“The Left Is Right” is the narrative that opens the book that is the rest of the album. Conor Oberst has always had a storytelling aspect to all of his music, and with it he brings a voice that is charged with Bob Dylan-styled passion. “The ’60s proved that change is hit or miss, every bloody pacifist can see it’s the truth. If one must die to save the 99, maybe it’s just a fight, the left is right, we’re doomed,” is one lyric that captures the essence of Oberst’s biting narrative.
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“Slacktivist” briefs the listener on how naive the current culture is at when they believe they are giving to a cause. Poking fun at the extra dollar supposedly offering help for suffering nations to the bracelets that people wear to spread awareness, the band joins together attempting to rally the people together to get the job done themselves. “City On the Hill” expresses the abrasive and penetrative force that is American culture, making note of how no guilt or shame is involved in the process.
Alright, we get it, the band rallies behind making sure we are aware of our horrific demeanor, but what about the sound? “Von Maur Massacre” is a fuzzy dance mix fornicating with abrasive intentions that make the endorphins explode. Every chorus is rich with catchy melodies that invite you to sing along, take “Te Amo Camila Vallejo” for example. The punk attitude of every track keeps the entire album with edgy songs that don’t give in on making sure the message is spread with infectious harmonies and bright textures and layers. “Backsell” offers luscious and transcendental dynamics between the fuzzy guitar chords, giving some time for people to breathe before screaming along.
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The rhythm section never falls short either, constantly offering a breakneck pace, making sure a mild form of whiplash is delivered as people head bang along. Each song delivers its message in roughly three minutes, never overstaying the welcome and never attempting to venture off into uncharted territory. Every now and then the bridges of songs offer a few new musical endeavors, such as the frantic “Radicalized.”
One song that helps define Payola is "Marikkkopa." Even though the song is directed at one individual who enjoys being compared to the KKK, the song, and in turn the album, "knock knock knocks" each of the visceral tunes into your head, making sure Desaparecidos marked their territory in your head. Now it's just time for you to sing along and rally behind the voice of change.