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Don Caballero - Punkgasm CD (album) cover


Don Caballero


Post Rock/Math rock

3.15 | 15 ratings

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3 stars This is a progression for the Dons. After conquering the Mathrock scene and becoming almost icons, legendary number crunchers and probably the most important band of the American Math movement, it must've been challenging to come up with material both new and good. To that end, Che, Jouver and Doyle succeed here and though some fans may be left flat, wondering where all that roiling mathcore went, the album skillfully branches away from typical DonCab-isms while maintaining the integrity of Damon Che's pioneering career.

Things begin with what sounds like a mic unintentionally left on and after a few moments the band picks up a familiar but simplified calculation. Soon it breaks wide open and we get the huge, roughly-cut chunks of meat expected from these three. An experimental side is also revealed and worked skillfully into the composition, Che getting ethereal at times and the band responding, a remarkable and wide-ranging track at nine minutes. Classic Dons for the next few numbers, particularly 'Bulk Eye' with great riffs, the bass and guitar harmonizing like no two others in rock, and Che's drums stumble and fumble into an attempt at popular songcrafting on 'Celestial Duty Groove'. Considering this is essentially a very gifted garage band, it is an intriguing blend. The guys finally stretch out and loosen up for 'Pour You Into the Rug', a loud rock instrumental followed by more essential calculations in 'Challenge Jets' and the outrageous percussives of 'Lord Krepelka' with Che tearing things to pieces. A nice rest with 'Why is the Couch Always Wet' and its mellow vocal but it's right back to the party on 'Slaughbaughs Ought Not Own Dog Data' and a powerful, live-style jam out. A brief ditty, 'Dirty Looks', and the Punk themes of this album start to become more clear though they rarely dominate, more of a tip of the hat to that influential scene. 'Who's a Puppycat' nearly has them moving into Frippian waters but they pull back, regain their identity and give us 'Aw Man That's Jive Skip', a pounding club track with an ornately beautiful midsection and we finish with the title, a vintage punk performance scarred only by forced singing.

All in all a really good collection showing a group unwilling to stay still, an intimate recording of a trio pushing their limitations with surprising authenticity and not a little guts.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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