Lê Almeida - Mono Maca

by Al Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2010-12-27

This mini-album (on a cute 3in CD) by the Rio de Janeiro-based multi-instrumentalist Almeida contains three songs of 'traditional length, and nine much shorter sketches. First track 'Transporpirações' sounds like a 90s alternative rock song - think equal parts Pavement, early Foo Fighters and Sonic Youth. It's really laid-back (as you would expect from a Brazilian, or am I stereotyping?), the guitars are good and crunchy and the vocals sound distant and hopeful: a solid start. Fifty-five second sketch 'Longeridite' has a load of tape-playing-backwards stuff going on, but retains the chill vibes. 'Jardim Da Tarde' is a Blink-182 song distilled into 31 seconds - and if you think that sounds bad, all the cool kids are admitting their love of Blink-182 now, so get with the program.

  • So apart from the unusual format, there isn't much original here - you can have plenty of fun spotting the influences though, if you're the kind of dork who treats music like a game of Top Trumps (or you're reviewing the fucker). 'Eles Estão Na Minha Rua' sounds a bit like 'Say It Ain't So' by Weezer, which is just fine by me; 'Costa Oeste' is the kind of tight, melodic bombshell that Billy Corgan managed to drop maybe twice, back in the day. 'Semi Hippie' is a three-chord song that sounds like summer days; finishing school; meeting your friends in the park. As it's in Portuguese I have no idea what it's actually about (yes, I could look it up, but what if that ruined it?). 'Por Favor Não Morra' is the six minute epic that rounds off this collection; again, it's like Pavement at their most poppy, ie, totally uplifting and fantastic.

    If you dig guitar music that retains an air of decidedly pre-9/11 optimism, with soaring, searing guitar lines and vocals so carefree they seem to float above you, then this is the tiny CD for you. The bad news is it came out in December and was limited to 160 copies, so it might be sold out by now. Soundblab was a bit disorganised this Christmas and would like to apologise if you feel you have been prick-teased.

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