OBLIVIANS: Desperation: LP

Sep 18, 2013

I have a story I love to tell about missing The Oblivians on what turned out to be their last tour during their active period. It was February 1997 and I lived in New Jersey. The Oblivians were scheduled to play at Maxwell’s in Hoboken on a weekend when I already told my mother I would come home from college to visit for her birthday. I didn’t want to spend the gas money, or time, to drive all the way to Hoboken from my parents’ house (probably thirty miles each way) after driving from my apartment to their house (probably seventy-five miles.) I figured I would just catch them on their next pass through the area... which didn’t happen until 2010! By that point, I was living in Indiana and had seen them play a reunion show in Detroit in 2009, but to be able to see The Oblivians at home, I had to make the trip! I love The Oblivians, have since first hearing them circa 1995. They had such an intense anger I identified with at that time. I’ll put it this way, and maybe it sounds dickish, but I never had a “hardcore phase” like many of my friends, and The Oblivians were the angriest band I listened to at that time. Some internet message boards that I frequent debate the merit of the sound of this new album. (As an aside, I find it one of life’s funny contradictions that people use the technology of the internet to complain that something isn’t “lo-fi” enough.)Desperation doesn’t sound like any other Oblivians album, just like Soul Food doesn’t sound like Popular Favorites. And none of these albums sound like the shit they did with Walter Daniels. The songs on Desperation are just as solid as any other album (I actually like Desperation better than Play Nine Songs...) and several songs are contending for a spot on my next road trip mix CD. “Pinball King” looks like the winner. A reliable source says that one of these recordings is actually left over from 1994. Just buy this record and enjoy the fact that you get to even listen to new Oblivians songs.

 –Sal Lucci (In The Red)