The liner notes speak it plain -- "Don Caballero is rock not jazz, Don Caballero is free from solos." But not from complex, ever evolving compositions that never, ever forget to crank up the amps and riff along. The post-rock canard that the group was labeled with somewhere along the line doesn't really make sense, and the math rock label is even more limiting -- too bloodless. If a comparison had to be made or a link established, try Drive Like Jehu, but without vocals. The Williams/Banfield guitar team knows exactly how to play off each other, trading notes, establishing parallel melodies, and hitting full crunch like an evolving beast. Che, meanwhile, sits behind it all and directs everything with equal power and skill. In mainstream terms, the Smashing Pumpkins' Jimmy Chamberlin got the '90s kudos for being a power rock drummer with the skills and fluidity of jazz, but Che is clearly equally skilled, as this album makes perfectly clear. An eight-track release, it splits evenly between shorter and longer pieces, each with amusing titles that established something of an indie rock cliché for later bands like Billy Mahonie. Thus, "Repeat Defender" and "Dick Suffers Is Furious With You," or the hilariously named concluding rip, "No One Gives a Hoot about FAUX-ASS Nonsense." The longer numbers are arguably the better -- not that the short ones stink, but over more time the group gets to showcase even more chops and abilities, often with thrilling results. When "Please Tokio, Please This Is Tokio" hits the midsection, everyone sounds incredibly on top of their game, slamming into a sheet-metal intense drone with fire. "Repeat Defender," meanwhile, builds into a gripping middle section, ripping at high speed before only slightly downshifting into something totally mosh pit worthy. Music with a brain that rocks, full stop.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett