Desaparecidos: Payola (Epitaph) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, September 26th, 2023  




Jun 25, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

As a sort of kabuki take on early aughts emo, Desaparecidos satisfies. But that baseline satisfaction is like a single coat of paint that wears thin over an entire LP’s length. By then, the crisp, righteous riffs start to plod, and the hooks, such as they are, haven’t taken a firm enough hold of your brain to justify a replay.

It isn’t that there’s nothing to love about Payola. It’s pretty great in fits and starts, especially in the soaring refrains of “City on the Hill” and “Te Amo Camila Vallejo.” Conor Oberst is a consistently impressive songwriter, even when he’s pitching underhand. Payola could have been a richer experience compressed into an EP, a subversive power pop that could incandesce the psyches of America’s mall-going teens. But even at 44 minutes, it feels overlong, its energy too diffuse for the intended impact. (

Author rating: 5.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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