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April 5, 2005

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Rating: 7.5/10

Last summer, a band from Saskatchewan, Canada called Despistado appeared out of nowhere to join the Jade Tree roster. The always trusty label released an EP by the band called The Emergency Response that was brimming with bouncing guitar riffs, quirky rhythms, shouted vocals, and an undeniable dance vibe. The band got a few comparisons to At The Drive-In, which seems a bit out of place as they are more comparable to a group like Modest Mouse. Whatever the case, the EP was definitely a fun and catchy listen that had many new fans waiting for more. Soon after, they entered a studio in Vancouver to record their debut full-length, The People Of And Their Verses. Once they were done, they hit the states for the first time with a number of talented bands only to pull out half way through the dates. A month or so later and it was known that Despistado was breaking up. This left Jade Tree with a full-length and no band to tour behind it. In turn, The People Of And Their Versus has become a digital only release that adds onto what the band accomplished with their EP.

With the EP, Despistado crafted a few standout tracks that were danceable and quirky. They were also quite catchy, especially "A Stirstick's Prediction" (which was used in a T-Mobile commercial here in the states), and the songs also had a vintage tone to them as they used several raw sounds. All of the aforementioned characteristics come into play with this twelve song release. The very first track, "Burning House", is all over the place with a thudding bass line helping move the song forward along with a seriously catchy riff. Vocalist Dagan Harding shouts the words in a quick manner while another band member yells "hey, hey, hey" directly behind him. You won't find a lot of lyrical content here as the song moves along at a fast and upbeat rate, much like the rest of the disc. One new element with this disc is a surprisingly melodic approach to a few tracks. In "If Relationship Is A Construct, Then I'm A Construction Worker" the band drives the song along with a much more laid-back guitar approach that features many melodic tones. Harding's voice is still upbeat but to a lesser degree. Another track that takes this same approach is "This Neighbourhood". It is driven by a mix of raw and melodic guitar tones as well as solid drumming that adds to the already present rhythm. Overall, these two songs show that Despistado really were looking to expand their sound a bit. Of course, there are a lot more upbeat tunes here. One such track, "My Definition Of A Tragedy", features the same Despistado guitar sounds that make them recognizable. However, the thing to listen for here is how they blend both their upbeat and melodic qualities in such a great fashion. It also features vocals that go back-and-forth much like how they did on the EP track "Lipstick".

The People Of And Their Verses showcases Despistado's music in a good way. It doesn't quite live up to what might have been expected after such an impressive EP, but it is an all-around solid effort. The fact that they expanded on their upbeat sound to add in more melodic, Minus The Bear-esque moments is enough to warrant a listen or two. Adding to this, a few of the danceable tracks feature a bit more technicalities, especially with "My Definition Of A Tragedy" and its blend of two different sounds. The only problem with the disc is that Despistado broke up. Like the EP, this full-length contains a lot of promise from a band that hasn't quite reached their full potential. Now, we'll never know what that full potential was. All in all, at least this disc didn't get scrapped because there are some pretty good tunes here that will hopefully let Despistado make some kind of mark on the music scene.

Standout Tracks:
"My Definition Of A Tragedy"
"If Relationship Is A Construct, Then I'm A Construction Worker"
"Test Tube"

Acclaimed Punk