In 2001, Desaparecidos were just another band formed by Conor Oberst, already a veteran of the Omaha music scene at the tender age of 21. But if Bright Eyes was Oberst's vessel for trembling, confessional folk, then Desaparecidos was his outlet for socially conscious emo punk with a raw, searing edge. The group was short-lived, though: after releasing 2002's well-received Read Music/Speak Spanish via Saddle Creek and opening for bands like Jimmy Eat World and Rilo Kiley, the quintet fell silent.
That break would last until 2010, when Desaparecidos casually regrouped and played alongside Cursive and Oberst's now-indie-gods Bright Eyes at an Omaha benefit show, the Concert for Equality. "We had been talking about playing again for years," recalls guitarist Denver Dalley, who formed the electronic-infused band Statistics during the group's hiatus. "Finally, the schedules aligned, and we played the Concert for Equality. That was such an amazing experience, [we] were more determined than ever to start actually playing again."
Perhaps even more amazing, Dalley says Desaparecidos had few cobwebs to dust off despite being apart for eight years. "That was one of the most impressive things when we were preparing for that Concert for Equality. We really picked up where we left off, and that was huge for all of us." Still, the band's second go-round has had some marked differences. "In some ways, we have matured a lot as musicians and as people," Dalley says. "In most ways, we haven't at all, and I mean that in the best way possible. I feel like we are all better players, but just as energetic — if not more so — and now we value our time together even more than before."
That exuberance and experience shines through in the four new songs Desaparecidos have released over the last few months. Needling guitars, bashing drums, and Oberst's age-defying yawps drive "Anonymous" and the solidarity-with-Occupy tune "The Left Is Right," whereas "MariKKKopa" — a song condemning Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio — is a lurching post-rock cyclone.
Despite the flood of new music, Dalley isn't sure about the chances for another Desaparecidos record, saying there's "nothing planned as of now. We would all love to do another full-length, but we don't want to commit to anything or force anything. If the songs are there, we would definitely put out another album." Naturally, his attitude toward the current Desaparecidos reunion is just as tempered — and realistic. "We are truly going into it with no expectations, no promises, no way of being let down or anything like that," he says. "What will be, will be. It's all about just having a good time doing what we love, with the people that we love."
DESAPARECIDOS + JOYCE MANOR :: Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston :: February 24 :: 7 pm :: 18+ :: SOLD OUT :: 617.562.8800 or thedise.com