Review Summary: A musical gem....
Once upon a time, there lived in a big city in Mexico two kids who loved music. Both of them loved playing the guitar and began playing in bands of their favorite kind of music: thrash metal. When they turned sixteen, both of them wanted to learn classical music. SO they gave the entrance exam to the Conservatory in their city. Sadly, both did not clear the psychological tests and were rejected. Then one day they met and together formed a thrash metal band called Tierra Acida. Slowly, however, they got frustrated with the limited scope of creativity in the band decided to quit.
They found that playing at hotels was a very good way of earning a living; it gave them good accomadation and also let them relax. But both these kids wanted adventure. So they decided to go to Europe. They didn't have any idea of where to go, so at a friend's suggestion they decided to go to Dublin. There they kept playing for any crowd that was willing to listen. Six years later, they came out with an album... and that album toppled both Johnny Cash and the Arctic Monkeys from the top spot on the Irish charts. That album was the self titled album by the guitar duo known as Rodrigo y Gabriela.
Read the above story carefully. This is not a story of rockstars you come across everyday. Why?.... Notice someting missing? Dreams of sell-out albums and gigs all around the world? The rockstar dream? Not once does it show up in their story. Their idea of a good livelihood was playing in hotels because it allowed them relaxation. So why is this important? Because just like the story, the album shows three important qualities: an unquestionable love of music and learning, feet firmly planted on the ground yet not afraid of adventure and finally honesty and sincerity.
Honesty, sincerity and straightfowardness: these are among the album's strongest points. Right from the get go, as the Tamacun begins, the duo gets down to business with a skill, efficiency and precision that is not easy to find. And they play so beautifully off each other, complementing each other perfectly, allowing each other to come to the forefront in tandem neither at any time hogging the limelight. Gabriela alternately furiously riffs or lightly strums away adding percussion with the soundbox of her guitar providing a solid rhythmic foundation over which Rodrigo creates lightning fast solos, ear catching arpeggios and beautifully crafted melodies.
Once I got hooked to the album, I found an audio of their interview as a link on their wiki entry. It was an entertaining interview -- and again the aforementioned sincerity became very clearly apparent. However I noticed something else too, something that Gabriela's constant giggling during the interview shone light on; they had such a childlike innocence about them. That's not something one would expect from two guitarists around heavy metal their whole life. Listening to the album again, it became obvious: that same innocence fills their music... very naughty, very playful, very energetic and always full of life.
The album also includes two covers: Led Zep's "Stairway to Heaven" and Metallica's "Orion". I am not a big fan of either. I think their self compositions are way better than their versions of theses songs. However, that is purely my opinion. The album does begin to drag at a couple of points but just as things seem to be getting a little boring, the duo end up doing something that gets the album right back up on its feet again. As such there aren't many faults with it.....
At the end of the day, therefore, what we have is a musically accomplished record that is at once energetic, innocent, sincere and shows a constant need for the artists to want to express themselves through their music. When an album so well represents the artists, it gives a whole new meaning to the notion of creating music, almost like giving birth and carefully raising a child, who, when all grown up, ends up uncannily representing his parents. Rodrigo and Gabriela have been good parents... and have given us a musical gem...all that, by just being themselves.