Here's the story: four young guys growing up in a small Canadian town decide to start a band. They play some shows, get a little bit of media attention, and they self-release an EP. Their little record makes it into the hands of a well-respected American indie-rock label, who quickly reissues the record. The band makes its way into America, embark on a major American tour, and in the process, receive a lot of positive, supportive press. They return home and record their debut album. Despistado's future looked quite promising.
No one expected that the band would implode.
As a debut album, The People Of and Their Verses shows that their demise was indeed premature. Poppy melodies mix with driving, powerful rhythms, producing some extremely catchy songs. The rhythm section was tight, and for a young band, their abilities never betray their youth. Their sound occasionally veers into At the Drive-In territory, but the resemblence never distracted from their own songwriting abilities. The immediacy of "Victim" and "Burning House" will make you think you're experiencing this band live; the songs are catchy and appealing, the vocals are screaming and Despistado simply rock. On "If Relationships A Construct, Then I'm A Construction Worker" and "This Neighborhood," the tempo is less frantic and the band is humbly restrained; these mellower moments show that Despistado had an eye on creating music that was much more varied and complex than simple power chords and shouting. Not every musical idea was golden; songs like "Broken" and "Magnetic Streetlights" feel unfinished, and compared to the album's more stellar moments, such moments do weigh down the rest of the record. Considering the circumstances around this record--after all, it is a debut record, and the band did break up during its recording--such weaker moments are somewhat forgiveable.
All in all, The People Of and Their Verses is very much a debut album, with some great songs tempered with some songs with good ideas and lesser songs that do betray the band's relative youth. The People Of and Their Verses is a bittersweet reminder of what Despistado might have been; it's evidence that this young Canadian band certainly had some great music in them. While it's somewhat misguided to speculate what might have been based upon one record, it's not a stretch to say that their breakup robbed the world of a promising young band. Here's hoping that their indivdual projects harness the energy and the promise of The People Of and Their Verses.
Artist Website: http://www.despistadomusic.com
Label Website: http://www.jadetree.com