Desaparecidos 'Read Music / Speak Spanish'

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Like their labelmates Cursive, Desaparecidos are an Omaha act with a taste for shaking up indie rock with volatile mood swings and jagged guitar rhythms. But while Cursive's songs are often deeply--sometimes painfully--personal, Desaparecidos strike out at modern complacency more than they vent personal vendettas. Led by Bright Eyes mastermind Conor Oberst, Desaparecidos use Read Music/Speak Spanish to attack public schools as halfway houses, criticize corporate culture, and refuse to pity fools and their money. Oberst's outlook on society is definitely cynical, as he spews lines like, "There are no more art forms now only capitalism," yet he defies his own words by creating music that is both thoughtfully agitated and artistically interesting. The lyrics put up only part of the act's fight, though, as the drums pound like swarms of angry fists against the machine, the guitars are their own sharp, noisy weapons, and sprinklings of commercial ads offer satirical reasons for Oberst's musical rants. Combined with Oberst practically snapping his vocal chords screaming above the buoyant racket, the effect of Read Music isn't stagnant aggression but a fervent call to both social action and physical movement, as expressed through one turbulently uplifting album.

1. Man and Wife, the Former (Financial Planning)
2. Mañana
3. Greater Omaha
4. Man and Wife, the Latter (Damaged Goods)
5. Mall of America
6. The Happiest Place on Earth
7. Survival of the Fittest / It's a Jungle Out There
8. $$$$
9. Hole in One