GUAPO: Black Oni: CD

Feb 27, 2007

Guapo is a very difficult band to get a handle on—this disc ranges from the sort of pseudo-free-jazz, math-rock skronk that Touch & Go might have released around 1994 or 1995 (which puts it squarely in the “couldn’t care less” column of my record quality evaluation matrix), then turns around and sounds like part of Glenn Branca’s “Symphony No. 6” (moving it back over into the “this really isn’t that bad” column) until they shift into some vaguely spooky Halloween music which might have been an outtake from a Joan of Arc or Euphone album (placing it right back in the “forget it, I was right the first time” section). It’s not that Guapo is boring, it’s merely that the music isn’t interesting in the same or even a similar vein for a long enough time to settle into appreciating it and that the stylistic changes are so abrupt and so drastic that there’s really no guarantee that, even if you enjoy part of it, you’ll like all of it. While they may appeal to some people with short attention spans and a yen for musical diversity, I can spend my time trainspotting samples in mash-ups and boots to solve that problem for me (and I’d rather listen to Stevie Wonder singing over Clash instrumentals any day of the week than put more time into this).

 –scott (Ipecac)