Reviewed by Josh Vanek on or about Feb 02, 2003
Depo is a charismatic, young (18-19 year olds, I think)new wave band from Riga, Latvia. I came into contact with them last Summer, when I went back to Latvia for a visit. Upon first hearing their debut record on the <a href="http://www.tornis.lv" target="_blank" class="text">Tornis </a> label, I felt the need to tuck them conveniently into a mental slot marked “band-that's-heard-too-much-of-the-Strokes.” The second time I played the album it became clear that was a mighty hasty call brought on by the ubiquity of the aforementioned group and the Depo bassist's penchant for bouncing through songs. There's really a lot more depth to this record and band than I originally was interested in giving credit for. <i>Alepo </i> hints at Joy Division's dissatisfaction with everything, the Fall's locked-groove weirdness, …and all that while firmly rooted in the Baltic (and probably former USSR) fixation with dramatic Russian pioneers, <a href="http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ruscom/arts/rusrock/kino.html" target="_blank" class="text">Kino</a> . Latvian rock bands differentiate themselves from others by their ability to sing well, and Depo puts its vocal ability on display pretty effectively here. Big props for singing in Latvian too. Alepo is a direct reference to the fictional place created by the music of NSRD, an awesome 1980's Latvian four-track outfit from Riga. Depo will do well to ‘woodshed' some of their material a bit. There are some excellent melodies that never see full development, and some songs go on a bit long, but considering the difficulty involved with being in an actual original rock band in Riga, Latvia, I give this my full enthusiastic endorsement. Seek it out, and dig the homemade, silk-screened packaging!