DON CABALLERO – For Respect (1993)

Review by: Jaime Vargas Sánchez
Album assigned by: Alex Alex

The little information I’ve looked up about this band says they’re a “math rock” band. I don’t know what this is actually supposed to mean; to me this sounds like progressive rock à la King Crimson post-Red. Now, my main knowledge of prog is in the “symphonic” subgenre (Genesis, early KC, Camel, etc.) so I don’t know how derivative this is, but it was a pleasant surprise.
The language is rock; there are not any classical or jazz affectations (maybe this is why they call it math rock instead of prog?). The emphasis here is in the interplay between the instruments which are tightly locked, and particularly the drummer has chops to spare; the bass has a rather metallic sound, bright and responsive, while the guitar acts as the glue that holds it all together.

Now, the weak point of this is in the composition. Arrangement-wise, the pieces are excellent (it doesn’t matter than most are very short, because they kind of blend together as mini-movements of something bigger), but I hear no discernible themes or melodies. The guitar mainly plays rhythm and arpeggios, and while I don’t imply that every album should feature guitar hero pyrotechnics, this lacks foreground to go over the impressive background. Many times this sounds like the backing to a non-existent frontman, or like they recorded the foundation tracks and then forgot to go into the studio the next day to complete the album.

Bottom line: Good chops, high excitement, a bit of a lack of substance. I wouldn’t mind listening to this again, besides, it’s less than 40 minutes, like the good old 12″ LPs. Thumbs up.

Author: tomymostalas


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