The word "cinematic" is smeared all over Guano Padano like, well, guano - their Morricone sweeps and atmospheric, existential surf are on a par with the greatest of movie soundtracks. But the references to film are made even more explicit with probably the most bizarre song on this release, 'Lynch'. Anyone familiar with David Lynch will recognise the references of the warped, synthesised drums and the chicken chords plucked between electronic organ lines, changing into haunting theremin. It's pure Twin Peaks; in your mind's eye you see Bob emerging from behind the bed, or perhaps Blue Velvet's Frank Booth following you down a dimly lit hallway, to the strains of dark electro-jazz.
The different moods of '2' are rare amongst instrumental rock, from the upbeat, countrified 'Zebelon', with its chiming bell breaking through the fuzzy guitar transporting you to the final scenes of whichever movie you're living in, to the downbeat surf of 'One Man Bank' and 'Gumbo'; the latter sounding in parts like a slightly less solipsistic, slightly jazzier Earth circa 'Angels of Darkness...' pt.I/II. 'Bellavista' returns to 'Zebelon's cartoonish country folk, adding some irresistible slide guitar into the mix for good measure, and 'Miss Chan' is pure Shadows, with a nice traditional Chinese opening riff, which turns into a great little motif that the song returns to later on.
The only vocals that feature on '2' are those of Mike Patton, the band's most famous fan and the reason for their increased exposure in the UK, due to their support slot for Faith No More at the Hammersmith Apollo. He signed them to Ipecac, and he sings on 'Prairie Fires'. Sounding like slow, blackened Cramps, 'Prairie Fires' is simultaneously the creepiest and most heartfelt track, with its couplet "You can't stop a wild fire/I'm made of wood" sounding much better in the song than it does written here; Patton's threatening cry of "You'll hear me laughing" and background theatrical laughter give the track a maniacal glee that the rest of the album hints at, but manages to hold back.
Guano Padano's 2 is a fantastic album of experimental neo-surf, if you can get past how much of an utter dickhead that tag makes you sound.
Posted: Tue 14 August 2012