So here’s an entertaining instrumental group from right in my own backyard who have apparently been making some waves in the experimental and instrumental worlds. Shame I haven’t heard of them before.
DON CABALLERO was formed in Pittsburgh in 1991 and released several singles before unleashing their debut full-length, 1993’s “For Respect.” “Don 2” dropped in 1995, “What Burns Never Returns” in 1998 and “American Don” in 2000, after which all members but Damon Che, the drummer and founder, left. Now in 2006, “World Class Listening Problem” is ready with a new line up.
Admit it. You can’t look at those song titles without thinking MR. BUNGLE. I love those song titles. They’re fantastic. They don’t really connect to the songs, but they’re fantastic. Anyhow, if you’re expecting MR BUNGLE clones, you’re off base. Sure, they’re making adventurous and creative music that’s entertaining, but they aren’t playing anything for laughs here besides the song titles.
Instead, DON CABALLERO serve up some exciting and adventurous Instrumental exploration. This isn’t the sort of ridicula-technical stuff you expect from a CANVAS SOLARIS or the irreverent humour of an ELECTROCUTION 250. There could easily be vocals set to this songs, but the guitar and at times the drums have co-opted that role. Jazz, Soft Rock, Hard Rock, Melodic Metal, Blues and a touch of Alternative are mixed together to make some surprisingly honest music. It’s emotional and complex without being whiny or challenging. It’s accessible and heartfelt.
DON CABALLERO has released a quality album of instrumental investigations. It knows what it is and doesn’t put on any airs or aspirations to be something else. At times it sounds too similar, but it’s all organic and good for you. Good music to chill out to. (Online May 17, 2006)