Pete Anderson's third solo outing has been a long time coming, and one gets the distinct impression that it's the album he's been itching to make all along. Given that Daredevil is completely instrumental, the guitar geeks already have something to salivate about. But there's much more to it than that. Anderson played the vast majority of instruments, with help in a few places from multi-instrumentalist Skip Edwards and minimal assistance from trumpeter Lee Thornberg and fiddler Donny Reed as well. There's also some string work performed by some mysterious entity know as "the Skipper." If the Latin Playboys were an instrumental country band, they would almost certainly sound something like this. While it's true that Anderson's guitaristry is signature to all he does, he understands dynamic, rhythm, and atmosphere and texture as well. Check the beautifully warm and silvery "My Little Angel," with Thornberg's English horn wafting under Anderson's slippery Telecaster, playing romantically over a shimmering B-3 that creates a sound that would make great serial music for a romantic interlude in a David Lynch film. The gutbucket swamp blues in "Baby Done Something Wrong" and "Sweet Delta Sunrise" are quirky, angular, slightly spooky, and tough as nails. The open acoustic guitar and tabla drums that provide the framework for "The Ballad of Los Barilles" are breathtaking. The power chords and synth loops that open "Big Canyon/Little Bird" are a surprise, but a welcome one, because Anderson's slow-handed stinging lead work cuts through them and lends them a near majestic quality before the entrance of Thornberg's trumpet and Reed's fiddle transmutes everything into a jazzy down-home groovefest. This is an iconoclast's record; it stands outside the margins and wears its freak flag high. That said, it is free of egotistical excesses and miscues. It's not only a pleasant listen, but a compelling one.
by Thom Jurek