Don Caballero - Punkgasm
Relapse Records
Progressive/Math Rock
14 songs (48:53)
Release year: 2008
Relapse Records
Reviewed by Goat

Stereotypically, the spectrum of music has two ends; one for enjoyable music and the other for Prog. The mainstream tends to see Prog as outdated; ‘an old fad rightfully killed off by Punk’, and whilst there isn’t time or space to explain exactly how horrifically wrong every part of that statement is, there is space to explore one of the few occasions when the naysayers are right. Yes, incredibly, there are times when musical proficiency can be boring to listen to, and coming from a Dream Theater fanboy such as me, you know that this is either seriously technical or seriously boring.

Well, unfortunately for Don Caballero, their music as showcased on latest album Punkgasm seems distinctly unimpressive from a technical viewpoint, and the music itself is boring. It’s hard to describe the feeling, listening to this album over and over again in the vain hope that you’ll ‘get’ it and it’ll ‘click’, but it’s not a pleasant one. Intricate yet repetitive drumming makes up the root of Punkgasm, with strange guitar sounds and melodies thrown over the top. Sometimes you’ll get vocals, most of which are dreadful, the sort of tuneless singing and yelling that you might get from some god-awful Indie band. The fact is, whilst writing this I’ve had to force myself to listen in the hope of gleaning some fact about a track that makes it less annoying or face-chewingly dull. Technical music should be interesting to listen to, should surprise and intrigue, and should pick you up off your feet... not struggle to show signs of life, like this does.

There are some bright moments amongst the torrential misery, as with most poor albums. Sometimes a slightly interesting riff will materialise and hold your attention for a moment, before vanishing again; but really, there’s no excuse for moments like the oddly-named Shit Kids Galore (most of the tracks here have stupid names) that are basically recordings of the drummer warming up. Even if I wanted to listen to drummers warming up, which I don’t, there are far better bands out there – take Rush. Not only is Neil Peart a god amongst sticksmen, he is part of a band that knows how to write actual songs, that are fun to listen to on multiple levels. I have it on fairly good authority that Don Caballero’s previous albums are worth a listen, but Punkgasm is a sprawling mess, a bucket full of spaghetti dumped over your head, a forty-odd minute dinner-party conversation with the one boring guy that everyone else has managed to avoid. I’m usually a fan of experimental music, but Punkgasm is neither Punk nor ‘gasm, as much as it wishes it was.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted 34 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:45 pm
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