Album: The People Of and Their Verses
Best Element: Danceable, yet still refined.
Genre: Danceable indie-rock
Label: Jade Tree Records (www.jadetree.com)
Band E-mail: N/a
When in causal conversation about music (which I am in more than I would like to admit), I often tell my conversing partner that my favorite record label is Jade Tree records. I do this for two reason: 1) they have a strong, diverse back catalog that includes some of the most influential records in underground music in the last 10 years and 2) everything about the label is cool. They’re based out of Delaware and are completely independent. They sign the top bands in every small sub genre imaginable. However, they never had a part of one of the most influential (and cool) bands of the last decade: At the Drive-In. This is where Despistado comes in. From 2001 to 2004, these Regina, Saskatchewan natives played music that was left in the void of At The Drive-In’s premature breakup for the record label that they should have originally been in. Does this story end happily ever after? Not entirely.
Despistado is band that sounds like they were listening to At Drive The In’s In/Casino/Out and Fugazi’s 13 Songs on those long tours in the Great White North. The lyrics are esoteric, the guitars are angular, the drums are extremely danceable, and the vocals are a cross between a yell and forceful singing. Sound familiar? Of course it does. But that’s not all bad. It’s because of these elements that the record is so good. The songs are catchy as hell. The guitar work is creative and relies on technical skill over volume. The vocals are actually quite perfect for this type of band. They’re rough, but not too rough. There is the soul of a young, idealistic man in the verses of the songs, yelping against the odds that were placed before him in such a frigid climate as the one that he grew up in. But the drums, they are the wrecking ball of the album and probably the reason why this band got signed to such a fantastic label. They burst and step lively, keeping the time and never over playing. There is a danceable quality to each song that makes the album fun and exciting.
Lastly, there is a side of Depsistado that veered from At The Drive-In in the mid-parts of the album. Some songs have an introspective sound that is more reminiscent of Braid. If they had kept on following that idea and refining their sound, they would have been able to take a place at the top of the dance indie pyhlim with Q and Not U. Unfortunitely, Despistado broke up and they will forever be in remembered for a flawed yet promising debut record.