Review Summary: Don Caballero follows up their debut with better musicianship and higher ambitions Don Caballero 2
is, as its name would imply, the second full-length work by the instrumental group Don Caballero
. More importantly than that, it acts as a transitional piece that sits between For Respect
, their straightforward noise rock debut, and What Burns Never Returns
, an album that is defined by its liberal use of guitar pedals and overall twinkly sound. Don Caballero 2
’s style, as one could imagine, is different from the two other albums previously mentioned, as it combines different aspects of its predecessor and follower to create a sound relatively unique within the band’s library.
The heavier jam sections found on For Respect
make their way on tracks such as “Dick Suffers Is Furious With You”, and a fair amount of distortion can be found throughout the disc. However, the spacy guitar interplay that would later be prevalent on What Burns
is hinted at in Don Caballero 2
, and the track lengths in 2
(half of the songs on the disc surpass the 9 minute mark) reveals the kind of progressive path the band was leading to. What truly sets 2
apart from its sibling albums is its tone, however. Tracks such as the opening “Stupid Puma” utilizes an angular fret-tapped lead to create a subtle, ominous backdrop that’s used to set up the more “riff-y” sections of the song. In a somewhat similar fashion, “Rollerblade Success Story” begins with math rock jamming only to, as time goes on, develop into a miniscule crescendo.
In terms of musicianship, it’s perhaps easiest to simply state that Don Caballero’s style consists of a long drum solo layered with intricate guitar work, but that’s not very true at all. The band’s ability to utilize their techniques (guitarists Ian Williams’ and Mike Banfield’s tapping, Damon Che’s octopus-like reflexes on the drum kit) to enhance each other’s expressions. “Repeat Offender”, for example, shows the guitars and drums consulting each other with the appropriate technique (soft cymbal tapping for the high-end leads, full-blown percussion for the heavier parts).
Don Caballero 2
is simply the second part of a solid band’s collection of work, and makes for a fine addition to the collection of listeners, as well. It has the atmosphere and the musicianship that makes for an excellent album.