Sou, Marcelo Camelo

Sony BMG, Brazil ****1/2
Rating: 90
By Carlos Reyes

So I whined about my disappointment with some of the supposedly great Brazilian albums of the year (according to international media), and from no where I had a bunch of emails from agents and labels wanting to send high quality material, the new album by Los Hermanos’ Marcelo Camelo was the standout. If it wasn’t because of Bikini Shapiro’s presence in Little Joy, I would place Sou as a slightly superior album than the self-titled little jewel by Little Joy. These young and talented musicians are incorporating roots from their country such as the MPB (Musica Popular do Brasil) essence that surrounds very sharp and clever pop songs. Camelo let’s his influences of American pop, bluegrass and of course rock flirt with the young but healthy contemporary pop of his country. Sometimes it reflects a smoky setting, or suggests a devotional direction, sometimes it looses itself only to return in the middle of a complex samba song such as “Menina Bordada.” This is not an auteur album but an open door to get to know the actual state of mind and creativity of Marcelo, a personal album that is relatable and fascinatingly self-imposed in its aspirations. Just like Maria Rita’s 2007 masterful Samba Meu, this is the first direct contact from Marcelo Camelo to something as nationalistic as Samba, and he does a firm and elegant set that should’ve had by now worldwide distribution available. He is a maximalist, it may seem as simplistic and unadorned music, but he takes his resources and makes the most of them. A lyrical wonder designed to be visualized, much like Gilberto Gil’s textured music. Los Hermanos will probably comeback in a few years, continue to be Brazil’s best band for another decade and transcend internationally. Take Sou with you on a roadtrip, or perhaps on your next biking session, it’s the sort of piece that compresses time and space to bring out the emotional rewards.

♫♫♫ “Copacabana” (Via Terra Sonora)
♫♫♫ “Janta” feat. Mallu Magalhães (Via Terra Sonora)