Never will the consequences of a misspent youth come back to haunt slackers everywhere quite so intimately. For if that time had been spent more wisely, you might be able to understand all five of the tongues Brazilian Girls' lead vocalist Sabina Sciubba teases you with across the twelve tracks of their debut self-titled full-length (with all those words to choose from, they couldn't string a few together to name the record?).
Born in Rome, raised in Nice and Munich and now residing in Brooklyn, you might say this gives her a built-in advantage on four of the five, but ahh, there's the Spanish just to prove she really is something special. Their bio on Verve's hipper, sexier sibling Forecast boldly namechecks The Sugarcubes and there's definitely a bit of Björk demi-glace across those sultry tones. That brief bio also lists Bebel Gilberto as a fan, not surprising since there are similarities there as well. (We might have even said Astrud, the ultimate Brazilian compliment for a band whose connection to Rio is in name only).
There's also a bit of the naughty (said in a British accent) spirit of Juju (a real Brazilian girl) from Mosquitos, another NYC band that has garnered national success. Not to say that the whole southern hemisphere thing is a sham, keyboard & programming whiz (with a Latin Grammy as proof of that) Didi Gutman is Argentinian and who knows, bassist Jesse Murphy and drummer Aaron Johnston may have been gauchos in former lives. Even if they were all Norwegian, though, the music on this record has enough of a tropical feel so that no one is going to complain to the feds about the label.
The album leads with a brand-new track en Francais, "Homme," that does a fine job of setting a smoky tone for the rest of the disc (complete with accordions or more likely, accordion patches) and then follows with all three tracks from last year's Verve EP, so you haven't missed anything by not having been with them since their hip hotspot Nublu beginnings, but completists may want to pick it it up for the two remixes of the title track "Lazy Lover" just to be on the safe side.
(Both "Lazy Lover" and "Don't Stop" are also available on 12", the latter with a Supreme Beings Of Leisure treatment on the B side). "Sirènes de la Fête" rounds out that trio with a nice spacey feel - it should be noted that this is not just another nu bossa band, the band mixes up genres and tempos nicely, although there's certainly plenty of opportunity for some mad trip-hop mashups down the road somewhere. We even get a dash of reggae on the insanely bold "Pussy" with a chorus that will keep it from ever being a Kidz Bop selection. When the band lets Sabina relinquish her lyric-writing chores, they make thoughtful choices, literally so on "Die Gedanken Sind Frei (Thoughts Are Free)" and as well with "Me Gustas Cuano Callas," taken from the writings of Pablo Neruda.
The album ends with "Ships In The Night," soothing you as gently as any mother's lullaby, yet another example of Hector Castillo's deft production and engineering skills that keep things on a even keel throughout. Don't forget to pack the speakers when you load this into your portable for travel, your friends in the Jacuzzi will thank you for it. Perhaps in five different ways.