on May 23, 2006
For the readers of this review, I only own "For Respect", and "Don Cab 2," so my scope of the Don Cab collection is somewhat limited. All that aside I really enjoyed this CD. I'm not a big fan of "Math Rock," (It is somewhat monotonous and annoying, but that is my limited opinion.) Gone from this CD are the one note screeches and discordant "melodies" of Don cab 2 (I could only stand to listen to songs 1, 3, the first half of 4 and 8 on that album.) WCLP is more melodic and cohesive, however it still has some of the old Don Cab sensibilities. This is one of the few albums that I listened to all the way through and then listened to again. I would recommend this to any instrumental music lover, however it may turn off the true Don Cab fan. And that is my one and a half cents.
on May 23, 2006
I don't know whether you call me a true Don Caballero fan or not. I own most of the albums, but I've only seen them live once. It might have mattered that Damon Che was the only continuing member, if this new album was no good -- but it is one the best Caballero albums period!! It's tight, muscular... and Damon is an avalanche on the drums. I absolutley cannot wait to seem them perform this material live! Every Caballero album has a different feel to it. As far as I am concerned this is one of the most accessible, and it still clearly employs the Don Caballero technique.
on June 14, 2006
I am going to avoid discussing my dismay over the lineup change or other 'politic' formalities regarding this album (The new players seem to attempt a kind of replicated sound of the old players. I miss the old players). I am just going to say that, although this album is very good by anyone's standards, it is not the leap into new brain-bending territory that all prior Don Caballero albums have been (From II on, anyhow). In fact, it seems like an attempt to summarize all of the basic functions of the earlier don cab; to distill the unique qualities of each album into one. It does this without charting new territory at all. This does not make it a bad album at all, but I personally was just a tiny little bit disappointed that they didn't make another album that I would want to listen to for months on end. Their last two albums, What Burns and especially American Don, made all other music seem obsolete and sophomoric, in a way. After those albums, this one was downright predictable. On the other hand, If you found American Don and/or What Burns to be a little too out there, but you really love II, then you will thoroughly enjoy this album because it contains the most straight up "rocking out" that Don Cab has come up with since II.
on July 1, 2006
I'll admit that I felt somewhat skeptical about the release of this album when I initially heard of its release. Could it be Don Cab without the original members all present? Was it blatant cashing in on the band's history? Does Damon Che actually possess eight arms? Happily: yes; no; jury still out, respectively. I enjoy the abum, the protean elements that comprise both Don Cab and Creta Bourzia are all present and form a rather tight straightforward unit more reminiscent of For respect..., rather than II, in my humble opinion. Opening salvo "MMMM, acting" is arresting, its three distinct movements mapping out what this iteration of the Don is capable of. "Lowered the twin", "Palm trees", and the title track are all excellent additions to the Don Cab canon, sleek and relentless, but" Savage Composition" is by far the centerpiece of the album, epic without being overbearing, and closest to the spirit of previous efforts. The rest of the album is average, and could possibly have done with some editing, But "bozzo jazz" is a wonderful closer, spacey freak out rockiness abound. The best part of the ensemble Is Che's skinwork, of course, and the way the drums were recorded only enhances this: dry and very clean, almost jazz like in its economy. So, buy it and enjoy it for what it is, and I think we'll see something more expansive from this unit once they really have some time to progress. Embrace the prog, people!
on January 14, 2009
This is a great Don Cab record, lineup controversy aside. I don't think Math Rock is a fair label for any band, but it certainly does NOT apply to this new incarnation of Don Cab. This group is capable of almost anything musically, and this record leaves no stone unturned in this regard. There are pop and punk songs on here - and they are surprisingly catchy! There are the haltingly complex rhythms, bizarre tempos, and unique riffs for which Don Cab is universally known - but they are better, catchier, and more eye-opening than ever before! As usual, Damon Che's drumming is beyond compare - his ferocious leads and insanely creative polyrhythmic assault makes him without peer in the American indie rock/hard rock/metal scene. The reinvented Don Cab's "World Class Listening Problem" asserts itself boldly as the new, definitive Don Caballero statement. Its successor "punkgasm" is excellent, but this record is an instrumental rock touchstone. Nothing is off limits, and nothing is executed without total excellence: smooth jazzy runs, super catchy indie rock, monstrous groove-metal riffs, and the best, most mind-bending "math rock" movements you're likely to hear from any band, ever. "World Class Listening Problem" will lull you into a toe-tapping daze and then stop on a dime to destroy your speakers with maximum heaviness, often multiple times within the same song. It shifts between head banging simplicity and reckless, neck-breaking time signatures seemlessly. And, most importantly of all, "WCLP" is full of great songs. Not just riff after riff in strange times and with jarringly different tempos (which is awesome, and which is the most that can usually be asked of bands like this); Don Caballero has written some of the best instrumental SONGS I've ever heard on this record. They're instantly memorable, infinitely interesting and unique, and like nothing else they, or any other group, have ever composed. Outstanding work, highest possible recommendation. A+.
on May 17, 2006
WCLP is a great return for Don Caballero, back after a long break with an almost completely new line-up. This does not sound like the Don Cab of old, at least not all the way. What is here, however, is great instrumental rock, and worthy of your money.
This album isn't perfect, but I did give it four stars, so in my opinion the good definitely outweighs the bad. First, the good: it's still Don Caballero. The music is tight, interesting, and complex. This album starts out with a few tracks that are a bit crunchier than we've heard in a while. There's less noodling around and more attention paid to songcraft. For me, this is a plus, as it seemed that sometimes the DC of old would get lost in its own songs, without a clear direction. The songs on WCLP have a bit more structure behind them, and to me this is probably due to the fact that the new guys are still feeling their way together. I imagine that, were DC to stick around for a while, as the musicians composed together more there would be more chance for experimentation and freeness.
As the album progresses, the songs get a bit lighter. This is where long-time fans might have a harder time adjusting, because this takes the band in a new direction. These songs in the middle are very structured, with recognizable sections, melodies, and chord progressions. This doesn't mean that DC is ready for Top 40 radio, though! The essential elements are still there, just in a softer vein.
The last two tracks are a return to form, and offer what I think might be the best chance for new things to come. These last two songs are also closest in sound to the earlier DC recordings, and I don't think fans will disappointed in these two in the slightest.
As I said, there is some bad news, though. Maybe it's because of what I referred to earlier, the relative freshness of these guys composing together (I know they've played together for years, but still composing together as DC is a newer thing for them), but the music is overall less complex. It's still "mathrock", but it ain't calculus! It's more of a remedial Algebra II course, with some interesting time signatures, but way more 4/4 than I would've liked to hear. It's still more interesting and complex than about 98% of anything else being produced these days, but it's not a counter's delight.
The best news, though, is that Damon Che is still the centerpiece, and his drumming is just as good as it ever was. For many DC fans, this fact alone is enough to make this a worthwhile purchase. And if you're a newcomer, his drumming alone makes this album, and all other DC records, worth buying.
on January 7, 2008
Somewhere along the way, Don Cab picked up a lot of thrash and hardcore fans who (a) think the value of rock is measured by how much a given band is despised by non-fans who find it noisy, and (b) despite their alt pretensions have a very pop frontman/ sideman bias when it comes to whose place is whose in a band. This album is something of a "what if"--what if Robert Fripp had been a drummer? What if the resulting material was built on his drum patterns along the lines of Yes' short number "Five Percent For Nothing" on their classic "Fragile" album. Then he'd be Damon Che, who has managed to re-assemble Don Cab here after a fairly long period, using an all-new two guitars/ one bass setup. As in past lineups, the idea is not that the drummer keep up a steady beat behind the frontmen--the string dudes are supposed to follow him. Picture King Crimson along the lines of "Red" and Thrak", which prompted Jazziz magazine to call them "thinking man's metal". Then picture them led by the drummer. Bill Bruford has been sideman for both that band and earlier in Yes, but he's also been leader of two different jazz outfits--the one that bore his name, and the later "Earthworks". The actual leader of Dream Theater is drummer Mike Portnoy. Before anyone accuses Damon Che of ripping off the band's name, let's not forget that it's his to use as he sees fit. This is a band led by a drummer.
on July 2, 2008
There has been a lot of debate over the new Don Cab roster and Damon Che's decision to keep the name "Don Caballero." I am not going to get into that at all, instead I will give an honest opinion of the MUSIC on this record. World Class Listening Problem combines the different sounds from all of the previous albums, adds some new ideas and wraps it all up in a bit-sized, (more) accessible package. So yes, its not quite as adventurous and experimental as the last two efforts but it still contains the same great elements that made Don Cab such an amazing band in the first place. It may not be American Don 2 or the return of the What Burns sound, but at the end of the day its a very enjoyable record from start to finish. I will take this album over no Don Caballero any day.
on August 22, 2010
this is really really really really prog. super technical playing by all. a lot of talent here, but i just find it very hard to listen to. oh, but i totally love the names to the tracks- made me laugh. obviously creative people behind this. so yeah if you want to rock out... this is not that album. if you are horny for chops, this is the album.
on May 25, 2006
I think it's total b.s. for them to use the don cab name when the drummer is the only remaining member. Some of the music's pleasant, some of it isn't. None of it is anything original or progressive. The majority of it is loose and abrasive, reminding me more of Oxes or Don Cab's 2 than either of Don Cab's last two albums, although there are a couple of points where they achieve some melodic intricacy comparable to American Don, those being the highlights for me. At some points it's impressive how the Creta Bourzia guys replicate some of the more subtle details of the former Don Cab's playing techniques, but on the other hand it's kinda pathetic that they want to do that. Overall i think this album is tarnishing Don Cab's good name with inferior compositonal focus, and creating the annoyance of having to add "but not that new album" when you say you're a fan of the band.