June 25, 2004
DESPISTADO [I]THE EMERGENCY RESPONSE[/I] REVIEW
Despistado’s “The Emergency Response” is the first release for a non-US band for Jade Tree, the label that ought to apply for a patent for bringing in new sounds to our community. This band resides in Saskatchewan, an area high up north in Canada, where days in winter are cold and don’t have a lot of hours of sunshine.
Thankfully, these 6 songs have nothing frozen in them. I’m not sure if post-hardcore is the description to use for their sound, but I can’t really give it a better description than being a quirky mixture of early At The Drive-In, some Fugazi inventiveness and a slightly Refused experimentational weirdiness. Starting off “A Stirstick Prediction” with a genuine scratching intro in conjunction with a soft bassline and spastic singing, the song suddenly bursts open with stoccato guitars, the coolest basspart I heard in a while and potent vocals with accompanying backings. It all sounds pretty lo-fi, although they manage to keep more drive into the song than we’re used to in this category. A really good opening song indeed, and what follows is not bad either. The next 2 songs show more of unusual tempo-changes in the percussion, and although you always have the impression that this music is a non-flowing sound experience, they manage to insert very recognizable parts of powerful and grabbing tunes in these songs. “Bubbles” is the more laidback song of the 6, with only the drums maintaining a galloping pace and tingle-tangling guitars all through the song. But the best is yet to come. “Hi/Fi Stereo” has a softer part at the start but than gradually has the guitar breaking into first fuzzy and hard-hit strokes, while the vocals first twist themselves into some kind of Rage Against The Machine style, but then later on in the song scream and shout in full distortion. “Lipstick” is at first minimalistic sounding guitars and vocals accompanied by some handclapping, but later on evolves into some nice multi-layered vocals and a rather catchy guitarded song.
I’d have to warn that this is a pretty unusual album, in a sense that it doesn’t sound anyway near anything you’re used to lately, unless aforementioned bands are still fresh to your memory (but even if they are, this is something that doesn’t sound like a replica of them). And although I often dislike elements of experimentation in music, there’s still enough power and flow all through the songs to make me look out for their next full-length that should be coming out soon on Jade Tree.
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