Rodrigo Y Gabriela, "11:11"

Album Review
4
<p>There was a slight novelty aspect to the way the Mexican guitar duo <a href="http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/rodrigo-y-gabriela/605118">Rodrigo Y Gabriela</a> dazzled listeners on their self-titled second album in 2006. The pair's guitar chops were undeniable, but flashy versions of <a href="http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/led-zeppelin/5047">Led Zeppelin</a>'s "Stairway to Heaven" and <a href="http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/metallica/5199">Metallica</a>'s "Orion" obscured the broader array of fleet-fingered virtues the duo brought to the table. Not so on "11:11," which is more sophisticated, flowing and diverse. The 11-track set loosely pays tribute to other string players, obviously in some cases (the nod to <a href="http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/jimi-hendrix/69498">Jimi Hendrix</a>'s "Voodoo Chile" in "Buster Voodoo") and more subtly in others, such as the Paco De Lucia echoes of "Master Maqui," with guests <a href="http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/strunz-farah/7450">Strunz &amp; Farah</a>. <a href="http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/testament/5840">Testament</a>'s Alex Skolnick brings electric fire on "Atman," an Arabic-flavored homage to the late guitarist <a href="http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/dimebag-darrell/468410">Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott</a>, and light hints of piano add to the textures of the John Leckie-produced title track. "11:11" is another winning showcase of exotic instrumental brilliance. --Gary Graff</p>