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Don Caballero - American Don CD (album) cover


Don Caballero


Post Rock/Math rock

4.03 | 106 ratings

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The Runaway
3 stars Hmm, Don Caballero's American Don. One of the most known math rock albums, influencing many bands to come in this genre and even some bands out of it, this should be even considered a classic, no? Well, in my opinion, no. As much as this album is influential, it barely sparks an interest in my mind.

The first song is one of the only interesting songs on this album. The ever-changing feel of it which can sound like a cross between Yes and Explosions in the Sky is very interesting and can grab the listeners ear in one second. This song is indeed great and never ceases to amaze. However, the next song, is less like it.

The Peter Crizz Jazz starts off with a childlike, reverbed melody, vaguely reminiscent of Battles' new album Gloss Drop (it IS Ian Williams in both projects after all), before being joined by pumping drums played by drum master Damon Che. This whole thing goes on for around 2 minutes before fading out and then a mathy guitar line played by Ian fades in. Ian starts looping his parts on top of it yet none of them are vaguely catchy. He adds more and more parts for 3 minutes until everything just stops and onto the next part. Ian records newer parts, in a faster tempo, a bit creepy. Damon just improvises over it for around 3 minutes and Ian builds more and more parts. After that, the song breaks down again into another creepy childlike melody played by Ian. Another sudden change after a minute, and a new Battles-ish part joins in. This one is catchier yet still dissappointing. Damon plays a bossanova like drum part. This whole thing goes for 2 minutes more until the song fades out. This may be interesting to some but to me it sounds like a very long and dull jam.

Haven't Lived Afro Pop is reminscent of the last song in terms of dull parts, however in style it sounds a bit more like Tera Melos and Hella, only slowed down. Very jammy parts and overall it just seems like they're banging on their instruments for seven minutes and waiting for inspiration to come.

This next song is one of the highlights of the album. At only a bit less than 3 minutes this feels endless, only in a good and fun way. The energy of the band and pumping blasting riffs sound like feel good music in the vein of Fang Island, only a bit mathier. Also, this song is much clearer than the other tracks and makes the listening much more fun.

Ones All Over the Place can be described by its name. Sounding like Battles in their earlier days (sorry for the multiple Battles references but its one of the band member's later bands so they have to be counted), but much more complex, this song can only be described by one word. Odd. I cannot tell you why this song is weirder than the others, but it just feels this way. Weird polyrhythms and parts played on top of each other in such odd ways and random tempo and mood changes just make this stranger and stranger. This song is okay. Some of the parts are really great but it just changes so much that it's hard to connect to one segment and understand it before moving onto the next.

I Never Liked You is also on the border between good and downright odd. The playing is great but the composition just makes it so difficult to adjust to. There is one part where the song breaks down to just the guitar for a minute or two and then the drums enter for a grand finale and it is amazing.

The next song is also very awesome. The combination of pulsing bass drum beats and insane bass action by Damon and Eric combined with Ian's surf rock styled riffs make an insane trio that should not be missed. After a few minutes of intense bashing Ian segues into an eloquent triplet-themed guitar line, but it doesn't take too long for Damon to burst his way into the song with insane drum parts which sound like Zach Hill on retalin!

The next song is weaker, in my opinion, yet still good. It feels too massive though, and not in a good way. Like there are too many parts to focus on and that it's just too hard to focus on something, however after a few minutes it passes onto a better part, that's easier to focus on. Ian's slidish guitars fill the sultry air as Damon and Eric hold a mean rhythm. They speed up and Ian changes parts and chords giving the song a much more beautiful and harmonic feel.

The last song, Let's Face it Pal, is the most average one of all. It does have any bad features to it but it also fails to interest me, as it has no new and exciting riffs or drum parts, or fills, or whatever.

Overall, this album is pretty average. It has some really great songs, it has some average songs, and it has some bad songs, and that is why I will give it 3 stars. Not a masterpiece but not a poor piece of work.

Another thing I have to say about this album is that the song titles are amazing, very funny and original!

The Runaway | 3/5 |


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