Don Caballero
World Class Listening Problem


4.0
excellent

Review

by Michael Robison USER (39 Reviews)
November 16th, 2006 | 19 replies | 7,155 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Well then. So starts Don Caballero’s latest album, World Class Listening Problem. When I first heard of the term “math rock,” I was instantly intrigued. It sounded so…elitist and underground I had to check it out. Later I found out it only meant there was frequent time signature changes, which as a musician I can respect, but it’s nothing that spectacular. Then I heard the music of Don Caballero, the off rhythms, and the heavy feel, and I had to get their CD. World Class Listening Problem is Don Caballero’s first album in six years. In fact, the album is basically drummer extraordinaire Damon Che and an entirely new lineup of guitarists with Eugene Doyle and Jeffery Ellsworth on guitar and Jason Jouver on bass. The opening phrase seems to connote “Well then, show us who you are now.” This is a moment of truth for Damon Che, and his new band. I haven’t heard enough older Don Caballero to tell if this new lineup is true to the Don’s sound, but it sounds fine to me.

Of course, the first thing to stand out for me was Damon Che’s drumming. He is by far the best drummer I’ve ever listened to. Perhaps there are better, I don’t really care (yes I do, but work with me here). His fills are brilliant, his rhythm impeccable. Yet he rarely tries to take the center stage. He does a few drum rolls in “I agree…No!...I disagree,” but everything fits the song, and enhances it.

I can understand why Don Caballero isn’t exactly popular. Aside from no vocals (tracks like “Palm trees in the fecking Bahamas” feels like it could use some), something about the band sounds unconventional and off. This is partially because of the changes in time signatures, which give the songs a unique feel. For Don Caballero, it’s all about the musicality. The songs don’t exactly have a unified feel, again thanks to the time changes. They are like different movements. For example, the first song “mmmmm acting, I love me some good acting,” it starts with heavy, and awesome metal riffs, with an eerie guitar hook. Yet as it nears the end, the song gets ethereal, almost ambient, with a synthesizer or something. They sound like two completely different, quality songs.

For the most part, the movements work. However, sometimes the movements are a little short lived, or a little too radical. Like the intoxicating rolling riff in the middle of “Sure we had knives around” that only lasts for a couple moments. It rocked so hard, I wish they could’ve explored it more.

The musicianship on this CD is undeniable. Aside from Damon, the guitarists make some nice riffs. The interplay between the guitars and the bass in “Railroad cancellation” really sets the mood for a laid-back (as laid-back as Don Caballero gets), amazing song. It has a U2 feel to it, minus Bono, plus better musicians. The bass line in “I agree…No!...I disagree” is great. It doesn’t really fit with the drums in the intro, they’re both doing their own thing, but it works. For the remainder of the song, it thumps along and grounds the song as the guitars do some rather weird stuff.

Some of the weirder, more obnoxious songs are “I’m goofballs for bozzo jazz” and “Theme for bricktop clowns.” They incorporate the same odd, technical guitar work, but in these songs the guitars get annoying. Maybe the guitar sounds a little too much like an alarm clock in “I’m goofballs for bozzo jazz.” But I don’t really like the songs.

For Don Caballero, it’s all about the music. Not even the songs, they’re just out to do something interesting with the music. At times it’s a little pretentious, at times a little wearing, okay it can get boring. But for the most part it is a treat. There are the powerful riffs, the waves of incredible drumming, and an overall feeling of rock. It’s not Zeppelin’s rock, or maybe it is, but it’s something different regardless. And I like it.



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user ratings (76)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
ohcleverhansyou
November 16th 2006



885 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There is no way this is psychedelic.

ohcleverhansyou
November 17th 2006



885 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No Damon Che love over here?

UrbanM11
November 17th 2006



117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've been meaning to give these guys a good listen, i just picked up their cd like a few weeks ago. well written review *thumbs up*

AlienEater
November 17th 2006



716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love Damon Che. I pretty much like everything he's done.

This is cool.

ohcleverhansyou
November 19th 2006



885 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damon is amazing

embroglio
April 25th 2007



219 Comments


damon is overrated


AlienEater
April 26th 2007



716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell no

he rules

k616g
August 31st 2007



2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dude...Damon Che takes the front stage in nearly the whole album. Though, I don't mind.

redshift912
November 19th 2007



31 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

what burns never returns is there best by far

HighandDriving
February 2nd 2008



3232 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm finally gonna tackle this album now, it scares me since Ian Williams isn't on it.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
February 2nd 2008



4925 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

as it should.

HighandDriving
February 2nd 2008



3232 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Just what I want to hear.

Zebra
Moderator
January 20th 2009



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is another great don cab album but it doesn't come close to the greatness of don caballero 2.

Relinquished
July 6th 2009



22336 Comments


I like this a lot. Album has a smooth, nice feeling to it.

Meatplow
May 28th 2010



5524 Comments


I like this more than most of their other stuff.

scissorlocked
August 29th 2010



3479 Comments


this is a really good album

however I havent heard their older ones

Digging: Fantastic Mr Fox - Sketches

MaskAtTheMasquerade
December 24th 2010



2784 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sure We Had Knives Around is my all time favorite Don track. Still.

Sheaiskl
January 3rd 2013



808 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is rad and an underrated album in my opinion.
Got some of my favourite Don Cab riffs here and the drumming is exceptional (as usual).

The Earth Wind and Fire riff in Palm Trees in the Fecking Bahamas is so cool.

Really digging this album at the moment, needs some recognition.

Collis
July 27th 2013



435 Comments


Railroad Cancellation is awesome.



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