There’s little left to the imagination after Bebel Gilberto gets done with a song.
Her smooth as a satin nightgown delivery on “Cancao de Amor” sets the tone for an album that is lush with sweaty songs that hover somewhere between the Big Apple, South Beach Miami and South America. But they don’t ever land anywhere special. The cover of Bob Marley’s “Sun Is Shining” turns into a major zoned-out electro-samba, and is, maybe, good for a siesta by the pool.
Gilberto is also joined on the album by musical kindred spirits Daniel Jobim (grandson of Antonio Carlos Jobim) and John King of The Dust Brothers, all together they bring a triumvirate of continental, Americanized and Brazilian influences to create something that doesn’t really emulate any one approach or style, although some of this is interchangeable with other artists who play around with this cosmopolitan sound.
Some of it just lies there and doesn’t really “go” anywhere musically. She’s worked with David Byrne, Arto Lindsay, Amon Tobin, and that says something, I suppose, about what she brings to the party. The cover of the Carmen Miranda hit “Chica Chica Boom Chic” shakes shit up a little bit, and turns an already crazy song into something whacked out, with Gilberto’s pinched, but smoother and less pronounced vocal. This album does show off some world class pipes, and there are moments that are less tropicalia that possess a St. Etienne quality, but the song selection leaves more than little to be desired, as the saying goes. And the best moments don’t sustain themselves long enough, which is kind of a disappointment. A different producer/musical director on the next album might help.