Rodrigo y Gabriela - Mettavolution - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Mettavolution

by Kyle Kersey Rating:7 Release Date:2019-04-26
Rodrigo y Gabriela - Mettavolution
Rodrigo y Gabriela - Mettavolution

Full disclosure; the 18-minute flamenco guitar cover of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” is the reason I came. I’m a heavy Floyd-fan, and “Echoes” might be my favorite song of theirs. So I’m happy to say that the pair do the song justice; their performance doesn’t transcend or build upon the original, but rather provides a faithful reconstruction in their style, which is honestly all you can ask of a guitar cover of one of the most ambitious songs ever recorded It’s a commendable effort that long-time Floyd fans will find enjoyment in and non-Floyd fans will find soothing; the guitar tone they use to recreate the soft melodic voice of David Gilmour is nothing if not soothing.

The cover comes last, built up to by a series of 6 original compositions. As they say, come for the Floyd, stay for the Flamenco-rock fusion.

But these two have been at it for years. More than 20. Back then, they were youthful metalheads from Mexico City. Since then, they’ve grown into one of the most recognizable Flamenco acts in the world, touring relentlessly and releasing 6 studio albums since their 2002 debut, re-Foc. Hell, they just performed on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show!

It’s in this we find the ever-present problem with the virtuosic instrumental album; it’s better live. Rodrigo y Gabriela are virtuosic guitar players. As a guitarist myself (albeit barely), I can attest to flamenco-style playing as one of the most difficult and unique forms of guitar. And the duo shares a special chemistry when it comes to their musical interplay. Every note is precise, every strum with purpose.

Yet, I can’t help but notice that these compositions lack anything that really ties them together. The title track, “Mettavolution”, features Gabriela laying a slap-guitar backbone (a la Les Claypool but…ya know…less weird) while Rodrigo shows off his lead chops; bluesy soloing and aggressively-strummed exploration. It’s funky, it’s energetic, it’s so much better live. The performance of the tune on Jimmy Kimmel Live! eclipses the album version because of the live performance aspect.

That’s not to say the studio-iteration is poor. It’s not. It’s actually a really great bit of instrumental fusion music-lovers will no doubt enjoy, at least on a surface level. It’s clear that they’re having fun. I just don’t think there’s much in the way of deep listening. Sometimes that’s all we’re looking for; a fun, energetic, aesthetically pleasing instrumental album to tune out to. And for that purpose, you can’t do much better than Rodrigo y Gabriela.

If nothing else, I’ll be first in line for their live show.

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