Release Date: 27 August 2012
Some readers might be familiar with Guano Padano as this is their second studio album plus they have toured with Faith No More and Mike Patton has featured on their music in the past and also on this album. Their musical offerings are usually without any vocalisation at all and there is only one song on this album – ‘Prairie Fire’ – that features vocals, provided by Mike Patton.
The musical style here is a combination of many, sometimes moving from jazz to desert rock to traditional Italian folk and maybe some surf all within the space of one song. It is interesting, individual and definitely unique but in the category of ‘listenable and enjoyable’ unique – not ‘what the heck is that’ unique!
‘Last Night’ is a gentle opener, sounds a bit like applause slowly but rhythmically getting louder and giving way to defined rhythm and piano. It initially reminds me of the of ‘Live At Red Rocks – Under A Blood Red Sky’ for about thirty seconds but that does pass. This is a brief, gentle introduction to the album.
‘Zebulon’ is my favourite on this album. It is upbeat, funkier and sounds like surf meets banjo led desert rock. This is altogether a very pleasant experience and helps us understand a little more about Guano Padano – they mix and blend very different styles of music and they do it well.
They are not a stereotype and the listener should expect to hear the unexpected and be willing to travel to new musical destinations. This is sort of the Beach Boys meets ZZ Top.
‘One Man Bank’ is very laid back desert rock, it is chilled and melodic and you can feel the tumbleweed rolling by. This is great and is another of my favourites on this album.
‘Gran Bazzar’ – this has a big intro and sounds definably North African, localised to Moroccan, in style but also mixes up with surf and jazz. All very odd in reading perhaps but very listenable. The song packs up a more rhythmic guitar lead and by the time it finishes it is definitely something you would listen to again. Unique, new experience for me but very likeable also.
It may be influenced to recall bazaars in Morocco or North Africa – then again it might not but it is evocative of those sounds. It reminds me a bit of the Beatles in their deconstruction of traditional pop writings during their Sgt Pepper days – you’ll get the comparison if you listen as it is difficult to describe.
‘Gumbo’ is a traditional southern American dish served at lunch or supper. Not here though as it is very desert rock, lots of rhythm, more Beatles oddity and a reminder of George meets Betty from the ‘Betty Blue’ sound track. Genius – as who on earth would’ve tried this and pulled it off so successfully.
‘Bellavista’ is another favourite of mine. A bit older traditional American/Italian blended folk music style showcasing a skilled music ensemble here and is divine to listen to.
‘Lynch’ – Hmmm, lets not go there! This has another big intro with a jazz blend with some clarinet too and it a bit more jumbled up than the other songs on this album. Very clearly well arranged to sound so disarranged.
‘Miss Chan’ starts with radio voices on overlay then moves on to guitar and drums. The guitar is very expressive in a pizzicato style making it sound like vocalisation. Very expressive. Also either banjo or auto-harp would appear to be demonstrated here but again, not much given away in the PR comms to help with this.
‘El Cayote’ is very atmospheric desert rock, evocative and yes, could be a theme for a movie.
‘Prairie Fire’ is the only song on the album that features vocals and these are supplied by Mike Patton. Here it is for you to check out.
‘Nashville’ sounds like a train approaching which moves on to harmonica and is another demonstration of beautiful desert rock while ‘Un Occhio Verso Tokio’ is eight minutes long and is more slow melodic desert rock but a little blending of funk helps with the mood of the song. Excellent.
‘Sleepwalk’ is a gently melodic and occasionally soaring song that rambles along and is a gentle and clean way to bring the album to a close.
Guano Padano offer ‘2’ with a blend of many styles including desert rock, country, folk, jazz, blues and surf but not so as to exclude any other styles either!
This is a beautiful album, it engages the ear and the interest of the listener well. Guano Padano are experts at taking previously untried creativity and generating new sounds and music. They are gifted and possibly even geniuses but their music is worth listening to and I am pretty sure you won’t find anything like this anywhere else – yet.
Guano Padano are Danilo Gallo (bass) Alessandro ‘Asso’ Stefana (guitar) and Zeno De Rossi (drums) for the music anoraks amongst us it would be good to hear if banjo, auto-harp or even sitars are used here as it would help with understanding the music offered.