Reviewer Spotlight: Don Caballero – Don Caballero 2

Originally published in Punk Planet July/August 2006

Don Caballero – Don Caballero 2

Some musicians may stumble upon moments of inspiration — even flashes of genuine brilliance — during faux-improvisations in studio cocoons but few bands have mastered the art of making their most groundbreaking and choreographed songs sound as instinctive and downright effortless as Pittsburgh’s Don Caballero.

Their second full-length outing, which is now more than 10 years old, is a monument to that craft, a set of explosive compositions where dense patterns of bass and guitar are feverishly pounded into your ears with Damon Che’s inimitable, octopus-armed percussion.

The disc’s been called a math-rock classic and a potent hybrid of jazz structures and post-punk dynamics. The inventive and blistering guitar work, it must be said, has provided Ian Williams no shortage of disciples.

But the disc, whose eight songs run some 59 minutes, is better described through the images its frenetic instrumental passages may call to mind — everything from the incessant pounding of industrial factories and the liberating rush of flight to the crunching thunder of collapsing buildings.

When was the last time you heard a band whose records made you feel like a witness to some sort of grand collision?
Sounds heard when not daydreaming about the long-overdue Scratch Acid reunion: Giant Sand – Chore of Enchantment, David Grubbs – Two Soundtracks For Angela Bulloch, A Minor Forest – Flemish Altruism (Constituent Parts 1993-1996), Cheer-Accident – Dumb Ask, Tin Hat Trio – Memory Is An Elephant.

About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.

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