When Guano Padano showcased their first self-titled record back in 2009, it gave us an exciting prospect. The three-piece – made up of Danilo Gallo on bass, Alessandro Stefana on guitar and Zeno De Rossi on drums – signed to Mike Patton and Greg Werckman’s Ipecac recordings and gave us a distinctive soundtrack-influenced album. This time they’ve brought us something rather refreshing.
It’s not often you can say that every track is respectively and distinctively different on an album, but genuinely ‘2’ has the variety that a lot of people have been screaming for, without being at all forced. The experienced trio swiftly and effortlessly move from the dusty planes of desert rock to soft jazz and even post-rock. But whilst you’d usually expect criticism for such an album halting the flow, this doesn’t. It all thematically fits into a modern wild western context. It all fits very well until you’re strangely taken to Chinatown with the oriental introduction of ‘Miss Chan’. But by this point the music’s constantly reinventing itself in unique ways and you fail to care about the slightly strange atmosphere that’s just subsided, especially when guest guitarist Marc Ribot begins soloing and showing us exactly why music legends John Zorn and Tom Waits have had him on their previous records.
‘Gran Bazaar’ is doused in surf rock while ‘Bellavista’ shows that banjo picking and a slide guitar can go a long way. The muscles in your legs insatiably begin twitching till you’re out of your seat, raiding your cupboard for a bottle of bourbon and shouting “yeehaw” in your best Yank voice. The album ends finely with the sad pan-pipes of ‘Un Occhio Verso Tokio’ and some nice Hammond organ and day-dreaming slide guitar on ‘Sleep Walk’. Guano Padano have made a soundtrack that could easily be the score for a new film. So, let yourself be hooked in. You’ll be riding horseback across the desert wastes, hiding behind a lone cactus in the scorching desert heat, slowly slipping your hand south to retrieve your revolver and see off those pesky bandits who are trying to steal your gold and woman. 8/10
Reviewed by Calum Robson.
2 is out now on Ipecec.