By now, the Spanish guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela have done their part for the music scene. By covering and utilising the rock and metal music genres in a unique acoustic environment as well as mixing it up with a healthy dose of Rumba music, they have developed their own sound and made quite a name for themselves. But every band had to start from somewhere. This is the groups debut album Re-Foc.
Re-Foc was originally released all the way back in 2002 through Rubyworks Records. The album was essentially a re-recording of the bands demo's, previously released on a nine track demo titled Foc. It is a nice example of the bands sound before it fully developed, showing a lot of creativity and skill.
I can understand if listening to Spanish acoustic guitar music is not your thing or even if you've heard it before. But when a band like Rodrigo y Gabriela records something like this, I urge you to pay attention. Not only is the playing on acoustic guitar skillfully done, but the way they utilise the percussion on the body of the guitar is extremely clever. It makes a simple but very full and mesmerising sound.
If anything, rock fans will find their use of lead guitar quite interesting. Rodrigo Sánchez plays a mean lead, but he also incorporates a lot of his influences and anyone with a knowledge of rock and metal can hear that. For example, on the track Take Five there is a jam of the last section of Metallica's One. Not only is it played perfectly, but it sounds just as powerful as the original. It features an excellent solo and the percussion does an awfully good job of keeping the beat going. Saying that, the same could be said for tracks like New One, Diem and 30 de Marzo.
The one let down this album has is the production and final mix. The bands instruments sound very quiet and you lose a bit of the detail that's is being played. With that said, it doesn't sound bad at all. In fact, the recording itself is quite smooth and is quite crankable. It is simply not clear enough to get all of the percussive sounds out in full force, like later albums.
Re-Foc is far from the groups best album. That honour goes to the groups second self titled record or 11:11. But I would definitely say it is worth picking up.