The name Guano Padano tells you nothing. The title “2” tells you that it is not “1”. The delicate piano intro led me to think I was getting some Labradford style ambient (not a bad thing) but then you get some rootin’ tootin’ Bonanza style cowboy skiffle which compelled me to stick my thumbs in my imaginary braces and twirl my imaginary lasso.
I actually got a bit annoyed with the band for making “Zebulon” so short because you don’t get enough time to do all the awesome cowboy-style dancing that it inspires.
The country / cowboy atmosphere continues with banjos and whistling on “One Man Bank”.
The press release mentioned a load of film directors in it and that’s an astute observation. The fact that the album is instrumental (bar one mandatory Mike Patton appearance) lends it a cinematic feel but the exotic nature of the instrumentation is the main thing that makes you feel like you’re in a particularly exciting film. Hank Marvin style surf guitar, double basses, honky-tonk pianos. Even a weird Chinese instrument I can’t name. There’s a huge array of instruments being played which means that it’s like a primer for a whole array of exotica records, and while I don’t think this album makes a big weird record collection obsolete, it does do a very good impression of some of the more esoteric genres. Neither is it a case of vacuous mimicry. Clearly Guano Padano can write great songs (all of which can be whistled) and they show it on “Zebulon” and “Bellavista” but they also tip a hat to their mentors with a cover of a song I love (“Sleep Walk” by Jonny and Santos Farina) but haven’t heard in decades. So in conclusion, yet another Ipecac record to go and buy. And I didn’t even mention you know who.