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When you see the name Desaparecidos, it's perfectly natural to imagine an accordion, a few trumpets, a bassy tuba cradled in an oompa-loompa polka beat, and a wailing singer who endlessly professes the indignities committed against his corazn. But not in this case. Desaparecidos—Spanish for "the disappeared"—are named after leftists and other suspected troublemakers kidnapped, tortured and often murdered by governement troops during Argentina's "dirty war" of the late 1970s and early '80s. The band, meanwhile, is a powerful experiment in punk aggression by notoriously depressed Bright Eyes songwriter Conor Oberst. If you're at all familiar with Bright Eyes, then you're well aware that Oberst is used to exposing his corazn in often staggeringly honest songs of loneliness, betrayal and self-destruction. Desaparecidos, though, is nothing of the sort. Oberst, no doubt lured by the siren song of testosterone and crunchy distortion, consciously abandons his original post as a shamefaced, disheartened youth in order to bust out a couple of fast-paced, amazingly extroverted songs that make Bright Eyes seem like it was created by a completely different person. But once you hear the first ditty, "Man and Wife, the Former (Financial Planning)," you'll recognize Oberst by his patented on-the-verge-of-a-temper-tantrum voice. An emotional crescendo that layers multiple tracks of Oberst incoherently outbratting himself at the end of the song also recalls a few heavier Bright Eyes tunes. The distinguishing factor, however, lies in the intentionally non-introspective lyrics and the blatant rawness of the album. Recorded over the course of one week, the music is tightly wound like a live performance, disregarding all unnecessary studio polish. And with prophetic lines like "In the computer's blue glare, the bombs burst in the air/There was a city once—now nothing is there/Our freedom comes at their expense/It makes sense, doesn't it?" from "The Happiest Place on Earth" (describing the faceless operation of modern warfare, written before Sept. 11), you can be damn sure it's 100 percent genius Oberst writing—and plenty explosive. (Russell Brock)
Desaparecidos perform with Rilo Kiley at the Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 629-0377. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $9.99. All ages.
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