Don Caballero - For Respect LPTouch & Go Records
Rare is the rock band that can make a strong impression on the listener without the benefit of a vocalist, but Pittsburgh's Don Caballero comes roaring out of the gate on its debut album. The quartet showcases its instrumental wizardry on the opening title cut, a skull-crushing groove monster that finds evocative drummer Damon Che leading the band through a succession of stop-time breaks. The energy builds for the chaotic dissonance of "Chief Sitting Duck," then dissipates on the Slint-like dirge of "New Laws," which shows a subtle mastery of dynamics. Songs like the thundering "Nicked and Liquid," the heavily distorted "Rocco," and the psychotic jamming of "Got a Mile, Got a Mile, Got an Inch" (which reveals the origins of the band's name in an SCTV sketch) reach out and grab you by the cojones, shaking you around like a rag doll without resorting to headbanger clichés. With Midas-touch production from Steve Albini, For Respect is one of the better instrumental rock records of the early '90s.