Politics and punk: Desaparecidos sings it all

Emilee Atkinson

Upon hearing Desaparecidos for the first time, listeners will think of Paramore, Jimmy Eat World or other alternative groups. However, the more time listeners spend with this latest album “Payola,” the quicker they will find that the group is dedicated to a punk rock style that explores many different topics.

Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska, the band writes songs mostly about the sociopolitical state of affairs in America.

“Payola” is the group’s newest album, released after 13 years of near silence following a break-up in 2002. Many of the band members were pursuing different projects at the time and didn’t have time to dedicate to Desaparecidos, despite their growing popularity.

In 2012, the band reunited after playing a few shows and subsequently released two tracks entitled “MariKKKopa” and “Backsell,” which both made it on to “Payola.”

Desaparecidos has all the makings of a punk-rock band, meaning that it’s a type of rock-‘n-roll that is characterized by loud insistent music and protest lyrics. It  follows the styles of The Clash or the Sex Pistols. Heavily fueled by the politics around them, the group takes advantage of desperate situations to fuel their punk rock sound.

“Freedom’s not free, and neither is apathy,” sings Conor Oberst in the album’s concluding track “Anonymous.” The song deals with the Anonymous hacker group, a loosely associated network of activist and hacktivist entities.

Similarly, the song “MariKKKopa” was written in reference to Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, and his outspoken stance and alleged civil rights abuses against undocumented immigrants.

While the band has a distinct punk sound that stands out, it has also been categorized as emo, indie rock and post-hardcore. Alternative Press labeled the group as “full-on emo-in-the-garage.” Similarly, Rolling Stone has described the band as “anthemic thrash.”

However listeners choose to interpret Desaparecidos, they’re worth a listen.

Other songs to look out for on this album are “Golden Parachutes,” “Radicalized” and “Von Maur Massacre.” These songs take a darker tone than some of the others and showcase the punk rock style the band is known for. These tracks feature heavier and stronger vocals along with varying keyboard and bass tracks that give listeners something to look out for.

This album deserves four out of five stars. Desaparecidos offers so much to listeners, whether they are fans of punk rock or not. The group stays true to their unique sound while exploring topics not many talk about.

Other groups similar to this one are Hop Along, King Everything and Andy Cook. Even if Desaparecidos doesn’t sound like a group you’d normally listen to, they may surprise you.