Friday, January 21, 2011

Guano Padano - Guano Padano

Label: Important Records
Released: 2009
Style: Jazz, Rock, Western

"This band is tight but they are comfortable enough in each other’s playing to not sound formulaic or over-rehearsed. The music flows in a way that brings to mind the rougher side of surf music, leaving The Beach Boys out in the sun while unkempt youths play their guitars in the shade. The guitar playing of Dick Dale ghosts through this album as the ragged but precise fretwork from Alessandro Stefana provides a treat for the ears. “Epiphany” puts a film noir spin on their music, sounding like Fantômas’ mutilation of Morricone’s “Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion” (Stefana has worked with Mike Patton in the past).

The echoes of Morricone are more than just an influence, “El Divino” and “Bull Buster” feature the whistling talents of Alessandro Alessandroni who is responsible for those whistles in the Sergio Leone films. It is impossible not to think of these Guano Padano tracks as out-takes from the Spaghetti Western soundtracks as the group have created a very authentic sounding Morricone-tribute (“El Divino” may as well have a writing credit for Morricone beside it, so perfect does it sound). Another famous guest pops up on “A Country Concept,” namely Gary Lucas (formerly of The Magic Band and guitarist for countless other artists). Here Lucas plays a resonator guitar to add a more authentic Wild West feel to Guano Padano’s music; his bluesy ambience giving the impression that a gunfight is about to go down.

Yet another strand of influence runs through the album as Guano Padano appear to be as serious about American country music as they are about their other passions. A cover of Hank Williams’ “Rambling Man” makes an appearance later in the album, Guano Padano bringing fresh life to the song. Bobby Solo’s vocals are especially evocative; rich with years of experience, his vocals are like grit being blown against the corrugated steel roof of Stefana’s guitar. It is too bad that Solo only appears on this one song, an entire album like this would be something else.

Recently I have been getting more into surf music thanks to exposure to things like Neil Young’s early group The Squires and having a listen to an old tape copy of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. However, this renewed interest aside, Guano Padano would have struck a chord with me in any case as they are fantastic on their own. Granted their music is not exactly original but it is refreshing in its whole-hearted embrace of styles usually picked apart by modern bands in search of something new hidden in their corpses." - Brainwashed


1 Guano Padano (3:40)
2 A Country Concept (6:38)
3 El Divino (4:36)
4 Epiphany (4:40)
5 Bull Buster (3:28)
6 Ramblin Man (3:37)
7 Jack Frost (5:33)
8 Del Rey (4:21)
9 Danny Boy (5:45)
10 Tromp Valley (3:38)
11 El Divino (Alternate Version) (4:37)

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