Rodrigo Y Gabriela - 11:11
Review by Jack Foley
DUBLIN based, Mexican guitar playing duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela return with their first album of new work since 2006’s word-of-mouth success Rodrigo Y Gabriela and they’ve lost none of their flair.
Built around their trademark acoustic guitars and percussion, 11:11 is a rousing collection of instrumentals that have been written in part-homage to some of their inspirations.
Seminal guitar artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana are all referenced, yet imbued with a very Mexican sensibility. You can also glean their thrash metal background in places!
Buster Voodoo, for instance, cleverly – but not blatantly – references Hendrix’s All Along The Watchtower, while thrilling with the intricacy of its guitar work. It’s rapid fingerwork belies a great beauty and a sophisticated understanding of the artists Rodrigo and Gabriela seek to reference.
Elsewhere, the delicious album opener Hanuman contains traces of Santana and sets the scene well, while the lush, beautifully composed Logos displays a rare moment of intimacy and calm, where percussion gives way completely to those lovely guitar licks.
Respected acoustic veterans Strunz and Farah team up with Rodrigo Y Gabriela on the lively, percussion-heavy Master Maqui, which again impresses with its layered intricacy, and metal legend Alex Skolnick, of Testament fame, makes his presence felt with an electric guitar interlude on Atman. It’s another highlight where the guitars really do the talking.
Prior to that, there’s more tenderness in the Jorge Reyes dedicated Chac Mool, a beguiling effort that offers the second laidback moment on the LP.
While gutsy finale and title track 11:11 rounds things off as spectacularly as you could have hoped, complete with a surprise piano sequence that really adds a nice touch.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela flourished after the release of their 2006 debut thanks to strong word of mouth and the mesmerising nature of their live performances.
11:11 should repeat that success even faster, as people now know what to expect and flock to hear and see them.
It’s a pleasure to be able to report that this exceptionally talented duo don’t disappoint. 11:11 is a terrific listen from start to finish.
Download picks: Hanuman, Logos, Buster Voodoo, Atman, Chac Mool, 11:11
- Buy it (Amazon)
- Rodrigo Y Gabriela - Caught live at Shepherd's Bush (London)
- Rodrigo Y Gabriela - Live in Japan CD
- Re-Foc reviewed