First thing’s first. None of them may be Brazilian and only one of them may be a girl, but this Brooklyn quartet is no doubt one of the most eclectic and prolific groups to come from any part of the globe for a long time. Singing in five various languages throughout the album, Brazilian Girls are fronted by the enchanting, Rome-born, Sabina Sciubba who is the most worldly diva at present and has voice cooler than a pack of Newport cigarettes dipped in calamine lotion. Being one of the best as well as sexiest albums of the year, the sound of Brazilian Girls serves up more choices of international dishes than Babu Bhat’s Dream Café on Seinfeld. It’s almost as if a DJ mix from Giles Peterson had come to life.
The tango alloyed lounge vibe of “Home,” with a hollow bump for a beat, would have sat well in one of the steamy sex scenes in The Dreamers or a gondola ride down a canal in Venice. Speaking of lounge, fans of Air’s Moon Safari will assuredly indulge in the chic tranquility of “Lazy Lover.”
The influence of globe-trotting house music on Brazilian Girls will make this a record that is stored in the crates of DJs like Little Louis Vega and Armand Van Helden with tracks such as “Don’t Stop.” In this track, Sciubba coos about the joys of drinking tea and smoking herb and getting some ice cream in the park as she ponders “When and how did I become my mother? Am I getting on your nerves?” The minimally funked out throb from bassist Jesse Murphy is elegantly coated across the top like a layer of sugar.
Keyboard player Didi Gutman shines his electronica chops with the vintage piano riffs on “Me Gusto Cuando Callas” and the tweaked out acid treble on the clubby “Sire Nes de la Fete” as Sciubba’s voice resonates the tone of Nancy Sinatra and Brigitte Bardot.
You can even feel the ethnic diversity of the mixed culture of all the melting pot neighborhoods in any of the five boroughs of New York City. Some of these songs will give the listener an urge to go to a cockfight in the back room of a Brooklyn bodega at two in the morning. And even the horn arrangements of “Corner Store” are reminiscent of a summertime block party in Spanish Harlem. Every last detail is described to the hilt with everything from the man behind the counter with a “snow-white beard,” to dropping change in the hat of a street musician who knows only one melody, and the girl on the public phone who is drunk and stoned. Goya fruit drinks, anyone???!!
The most catchy tune on the album however is the dub reggae infected “Pussy” with the infectious chant of “Pussy, pussy, mari-juan-a.” Tabla drums included. Lee “Scratch” Perry would be proud if he wasn’t terminally insane from huffing all of that gasoline and tape head cleaning fluid.
If you give your grandfather a listen to this album, I’m sure he will remember the glory of his youth in the army back when he was boozing and whoring all throughout the early days of post-war Berlin with the Euro-burlesque of “Long” that even has a vintage Linn drum machine in it. But the Brazilian Girls show that they can even pull off the German cabaret moves on tracks such as “Die Gedkin Sind Frei” which could be easily described as Oktoberfest with LSD-spiked beer.
The entire album has a tropical aura to it which makes this a perfect CD for the summertime. It can also be soothing for the late night feel and even perfect at an art gallery. It’s like a time machine that can go into every part of the 20th century to any area of the globe while sounding hip and sexy enough to dance to.
Nouvelle Vague – Nouvelle Vague
Mosquitos – Sunshine Barato
Bebel Gilberto – Bebel Gilberto