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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Review: Peter Maybarduk - No Hay Pueblo Vencido

Peter Maybarduk - No Hay Pueblo Vencido
2009, Peter Maybarduk

Peter Maybarduk was born to an American Diplomat and a social worker in Mexico City, and has lived in several Latin American countries as well as in various places across the United States since then. His worldview is strongly influenced by his upbringing, and that worldview comes through loud and clear in Maybarduk's music. His second album, No Hay Pueblo Vencido (No Defeated People), will be self-released on January 20, 2009, and offers a glimpse of that worldview set against varying musical styles, ranging from singer-songwriter style story-songs to electronic/organic rock to punk.

No Hay Pueblo Vencido opens with the poignant Darker Days. Darker Days explores Maybarduk's difficulty living amongst people who's real problems are as superficial as their happiness after living among people who truly struggle to live. The song is a subtle framing of his time in California against his background in Central America and is quite ingeniously written. The musical arrangement has a searching quality to it, as if Maybarduk is trying to find a way to balance the two worlds he knows on his shoulders. Maybarduk explores sampling mixed with organic music on Siddartha, a catchy pop tune with real potential as a dance mix.

To Make A Rebel Behave is a lovely guitar ballad that subtly explains the methods a fascist state might use to enforce what it considers to be appropriate behavior amongst its own people. Dom Helder opens with an urgent energy that turns into an almost early Police-style punk tune. Throughout all of these songs Maybarduk explores the world around him with an eye for how he might change things, or perhaps how he has already tried. There is a confidence in his writing that borders on grandiosity at times. Whether is the sort of grandiosity that is necessary to dream of and exact change or the sort that gets in the way of it is a matter of time and observation, but it does weigh down the album a bit at times.

Hey Washington is perhaps the gem of the album, a smart and inquisitive commentary about government and its failings (and potential). Right behind it (both figuratively and literally) is Caught In A Lie, a frenetically performed soliloquy that could be a man speaking to his potential beloved or a politician speaking to the government or office (s)he seeks. The sense of good will entering in here is similar regardless of the scenario, and Maybarduk doesn't fully clear up the question in the course of the song. Other highlights include Capital For Guns, Sundays and Vencido.

Peter Maybarduk is a talented songwriter. His way with words is notable and allows Maybarduk to explore subject matter than most songwriters may never pursue. Because of his experiences and upbringing, Maybarduk views his role in the world as being larger than one might expect. Whether this is reality or youthful idealism and ego remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that Maybarduk works through his music to spread a message about the interconnectedness of life and societies that should be considered by thinking people. No Hay Pueblo Vencido is a stand-out release with something for most everybody. Even if you filter out the messages the music is very entertaining.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Peter Maybarduk at or No Hay Pueblo Vencido will be release January 20, 2009. Keep checking Maybarduk’s website for details!

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