01 October 2008

The BLOGTOBER 2008 Album Reviews (01 of 23) Brazilian Girls, New York City

This is the first of 23 album reviews (one each weekday through the 31st) I'll be churning out over the course of BLOGTOBER 2008. It'll only be albums that I like and albums released this year. In some ways it could be a 'best of' 2008 list so far, but not exactly, rather than 'best of', more of a 'good enough to listen to repeatedly' list (which isn't always the same thing, some great albums aren't easy to re-listen to, and some albums that demand repeating aren't great). Given that I don't buy CDs any more, all the albums reviewed are available (usually in their entirety) through ZunePass, I'll link both the Zune.net and Amazon page where applicable.

Brazilian Girls New York City [Zune.net, Amazon]

As mentioned in their Wiki, none of the Brazilian Girls are from Brazil, and only one of them is female, but that doesn't change their name.

This is their 3rd album so far. Their self-titled debut is still my favorite, but this is a solid album, too. The lead singer, Sabina Sciubba is pleasingly multi-lingual and puts those talents to satisfying effect on many of the tracks on New York City.

I think the mood best described by this album as a whole is that it's the soundtrack to a film that doesn't quite yet exist. on to the tracks:

1) St. Petersburg
It's a nicely paced piece of chill-out music. Soars in spots, takes it easy in other, nicely layered, a little reminiscent of Stereolab in spots, a good way to start an album (for those still old fashioned enough to listen to albums in the order they're presented)

2) Losing Myself
A more straight-forward club dance track. Sung in both French and English, can't go too far wrong with sexily purred French under girded by a driving beat.

3) Berlin
This is a very theatrical piece (in a good way). A lost song from the film version of Cabaret, possibly, all sorts of Kurt Weill influence on this, though it's sung in French and English. Can't go wrong with placing the Tuba prominently in your song.

4) Strangeboy
Starts off with a beat that Martin Denny wouldn't mind borrowing, mated with a monotone downbeat vocal delivery. Interesting juxtaposition. Kind of exotica meets Williamsburg hipsters, the last minute is a bit of a electronic rave-up employing a fast dub beat. A lot of influences to be present in one tune, but it works.

5) Good Time
Another dance track, "We Just Wanna Have a Good Time (all the time)". Meant to be ironic, I think, it's a party song mocking party songs, but that doesn't make it any less effective as a party song. Let the world burn, just have a good time.

6) Ricardo
The movie this track is from is a bad 70s Filipino rip off of an imitation James Bond movie made in Japan during the 60s, dubbed into Spanish. Does that sound like a bad thing, or a good thing? (that you'll have to answer for yourself)

7) I Want Out
Starts off with some poly-rhythmic African-style drums, overlaid with electronic effects and ethereal vocals. Where it goes from there is straight into the German Disco, baby. German is underrated as a sexy-tongue. In the right mouth, German is a damn sexy language. Sabina has the right mouth to make German sexy-sounding.

8) L'Interprete
Begins with sensitive guitar picking, accompanied by simply sung French. Very spare, very effective, very different from the rest of the album, yet recognizably "Brazilian Girls" music. Nice change of pace.

9) Internacional
It's not that Internationale, but it's probably some sort of Marxist piece, anyway. It's a fun little beat, with Sabina purring the names of bunch of cities underneath. Of all their songs, this is the one that sounds the most 'Brazilian', if your city didn't get mentioned on the album, don't worry, she'll probably mention work it in if they play live near you (Hello, Cleveland!)

10) Nouveau Americain
An old school new wave beat begins the track, very 1980, even the staccato singing style would fit in back then. I guess no artist escapes early 80s fetishism nowadays, it's required. Fun track, anyway.

11) Mano De Dios
This track can be found in the never made Argentinian remake of Blue Velvet. Has the dreamy feel of Angelo Badalamenti's music, but with a slight South American spin to it. Good way to finish off a very solid album.

(and a word of caution, be very, very careful if you choose to do a Google Image Search for "Brazilian Girls", especially with safe search off)

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