April 26, 2004
DESPISTADO [I]THE EMERGENCY RESPONSE[/I] REVIEW
There’s a very good reason this EP is titled The Emergency Response. If you’re ever at a dull office party, and everyone is bored to tears, just slap this EP in the stereo system. The masses of formerly non-moving schmucks at the party will be shakin some booty and bustin’ a move on the dance floor, and that emergency will be solved! Despistado’s debut EP is also brings a jubilant ray of hope to rainy days, bad moods, bad grades, breakups, and/or just about everything else that makes you sad or angry. A band that captures punk’s intrinsic upbeatness and the Rapture’s unavoidable danceability definitely has the power to cheer up the depressed emo kids of today; thus, given the right opportunities, Despistado could rid the world of â€˜emo-kid’ syndrome.
Despistado’s erratic, chant-along vocals paired with jumpy, jittery guitars contribute to the punk feel, but it gains its groove from drummer Brenan Schwartz’s unique drumming style and bassist Joel Passmore’s extremely adept and powerful command of the bass. Passmore’s thumping, pulsating lines bring a character to Despistado’s sound whose absence would render Despistado hopeless; Songs like “HiFi Stereo” and “A Stirstick’s Prediction” would be absolutely nowhere without the fabulous, funky bass work. Schwartz’s drumming is also essential to the sound, as the hopelessly endearing groove on “Bubbles” comes straight out of the nearly tribal drumbeat he delivers. He also pushes Despistado along at a brisk clip, keeping everything together nicely.
That’s not to say that the guitars or the vocals suck - those two elements do deliver the meat of these songs - but the bass and drums are much more important than in most bands. The guitars here are choppy and dissonant, delivering just enough rhythm and melody to catch your ear, but not enough to keep you rapt in listening. The two guitars add a hectic, frenzied feel to the music more than they actually add melodic value, and that’s perfectly ok. To continue with the hectic feel of this six-song montage, we have the vocals. These are virtually all yelled/sung, reminding me heavily of the Rapture, as well as a higher pitched Jack White. They explode with aggression and punk mentality, while still remaining playful and dangerously catchy.
The best explanation of Despistado’s sound would be in the opener “A Stirstick’s Prediction,” where the bassist delivers a bouncy moving line, the guitars clang away, the drums act punchy, and the call-and-response vocals demand that you sing along. I’m pretty sure that the graveyards of the world would be exciting places if Despistado were played for the deceased, as all the dead would get up and dance along with these punked-out dance grooves. I just can’t get enough of Despistado’s musicâ€¦.it’s happiness in a can, and who doesn’t like to be happy?
Delusions of Adequacy
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