New York City
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The result of nearly eight months' worth of work on their own and with producer Hector Castillo, the boldly titled New York City is Brazilian Girls' most sophisticated, dynamic effort yet. To be sure, the album contains its fair share (more, really) of uptempo party-starters: 'We just want to have a good time all the time,' Sciubba admits gleefully over an infectious hand-clap beat in the aptly named 'Good Time,' while 'Losing Myself' rides a go-go organ groove. Yet New York City also reveals a deeper, more contemplative side of Brazilian Girls' sound, one that Johnston says reflects the band's desire to 'actually sit down and write rather than just jam at the club.'Sciubba cites influences like Caetano Veloso and Feist. 'I think we were feeling like we wanted to push ourselves in other directions,' adds Gutman. 'We were interested in exploring a wider range of emotions.'
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The band famous for only having one girl and not being Brazilian in the slightest have released their third album, a masterpiece entitled New York City. Sabina Sciubba, the lead singer and only female of the group, is essential to this album. Her vocals can hit any emotion she wants with only the slightest change, and the fact that she sings in (at least) English, Spanish, and French only heightens the aura of mystery about the band. I cannot find lyrics for this album yet, so I am in the dark for quite a bit of the album. Sciubba can be super sexy as on "Internacional" or plead with whimpers like she does on "Nouveau Americain." And it's not just about sounding sexy, she can honestly sing. Her Sigur Ros-esque vocals on the opener "St. Petersburg" or her soft, sensual performance on "L'Interprete" are stunning.
But we can't leave the rest of the band out on the street; Gutman, Murphy, and Johnston contribute just as much musically as Sciubba. Gutman in particular plays a strong role in the sound of many of these songs; as they jump from genre to genre he always adds a bit of his own in the keyboard or electronic work. "Losing Myself" features a one chord Manzarek-channeled keyboard piece, as does "Ricardo." Murphy's bass line on dance numbers like "Internacional" are unforgettable, and Johnston's drumbeats make some of the otherwise un-danceable cuts danceable. New York City is a flurry of musical inspirations and even steps up to the plate to imitate Kid A at points like the spongey computer backing on "L'Interprete." The carnival-romp of "Berlin" or near-mechanically charged "I Want Out" make for strange - albeit grand - changes of pace. The band's incorporation of jazz, pop, rock, and most importantly electronica are so well fused that they truly stand out against the backdrop of mediocre indie-electronica acts. They know their music and have done their homework, and that's what makes New York City work. (St. Petersburg, Losing Myself, Berlin, L'Interprete)