Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
|This is a grand CD. Os Argonautas are from Brazil. The music is rich with the cultures of the region, merged with surf and other elements. Excellent and complimentary production. and arranging. New territory is explored here. There is one vocal called "Luciana" here that is a blend of salsa and Latin / Caribbean sounds, more tropical than surf, but with a strange sea worthiness. Among the best new releases this year.|
Picks: Sonadora, O Escafandrista do Asfalto, Milando Argonautillus, Canalhas, Space Invaders, Pajaro, O Baiao, Carmen, Vaquejada, Argo, Mare Vermilha, Boleron de los Borrachos, Rumo a Colquida
Track by Track Review
"Sonadora" is a very interesting Spanish/Middle Eastern flavored tune with the formality of Flamenco and the emotional intensity of a tango. The lush arranging is quite professional, and it lends itself to the exceptional playing and writing. This is a great track.
O Escafandrista do Asfalto
"O Escafandrista do Asfalto" sports the kind of infectious fun that "Asphalt Spinner" does, with solid vibrato second guitar and layered guitar fills that make the track sound really complete, full without congestion. Very nice.
"Milando Argonautillus" is a gorgeous mid tempo piece with beautiful slow whammy and warm surf tones. The double picking has that Italian dribbling mandolin feel in spots, and low-E grumble in others. The inclusion of a verse of "Pipeline" at the end is a nice aside. The slow glissando and dramatic pause as it comes to an end is quite effective. Melodic, well arranged, and very good.
"Canalhas" has a spy feel to it, with an interesting contrast between the lead tones and the crunchy fuzz second guitar. Lots of serious arranging, with a flute in the break and many varied textures.
Psycho Noise (Instrumental)
Lmmbering weighty sludge backwards tracking and discordant progressions simulate the dementia of too much time in space. You can just listen for so long before it takes over your mind and frays your nerves. Very much a mood altering piece.
Andean Surf (Instrumental)
"Pájaro" blends South American Indian folks styles with electric instruments in a very reverent style. The inclusion of gently double picked surf guitar against the flute is really inventive and very effective.
Progressive Surf (Instrumental)
"O Baião" is a rhythmic number with a thick intense sound and slight hints of Muruga and UFM's "Gum Improvisation." Melodic contrasts between guitars and flutes. with Latin percussion and layered sounds. Gorgeous.
Spaghetti Western Surf (Instrumental)
Spaghetti western drips off of "Carmen" via the low-E guitar tones and the bells. The melody conjures images of wandering surfers way off course amidst cactus and tumbleweeds. The flute compliments the guitar very well. It's surfable, ridable, and very listenable.
Open road surf looking for a new sunset. melodic, crunchy, intriguing use of percussion in sync with the rhythm guitar. A fascinating blend of sounds. Dramatic arranging, and solid performance. I like the sound of this a lot.
Whammy dips, rich contrasts between damped surf guitar and flute lead of infectious exotic percussion and an atmospheric keyboard. It almost grins with optimism. Infectious.
"Mare Vermilha" is a crunchy driven surf number with solid guitar, rhythmic percussion, and crunchy glissandoes. I'm not sure it conjures vermilion sea images, but it sure does shout "surf's up!" Powerful and magnetic.
"Bolerón de los Borrachos" floats on a sea of vibrato and rich textures. It speaks of villas and warm breezes. A pretty melody and warm sound create a very enjoyable track.
"Rumo à Cólquida" is quite ceremonial, rich with historic import and forgotten drama. The flute and guitar counter one another and the percussion rises and falls with the power of the lines being played. It's much like the drama the Mermen achieve, but from a totally different perspective. No melody, just huge imagery.