Século do Progresso begins as a lament, albeit underpinned with some squeaks and blurps that could come from John Shuttleworth’s Yamaha effects button.
A mental record, this. This could drive you all a bit nuts, especially if you don’t dig what seem to be jaunty attempts at fusing Samba and cello work-outs. No, really. Still, I would advise you all give this record a bit of time; at first listen you think there’s some dischord; something not quite right, and what with the popping noises that permeate things at times, it can get a little too much. After a couple of listens though, this record turns into quite a hypnotic listen. Some tracks are really special; the ruminative Século do Progresso begins as a lament, albeit underpinned with some squeaks and blurps that could come from John Shuttleworth’s Yamaha effects button. Once the sprightly cello takes charge then the melancholy lifts and the track skips along at a merry pace. It’s really great.
The guitar playing is the key to this record; it’s got a cheeky presence and drives the songs (and the overall mood) on the LP with quiet prompts changes of tempo and phrases. The liquid guitar run in Eu Sonhei Que Tu Estavas Tão Lida underpins the restless cello phrases: combined, they create a brilliant sense of tension: (by the way the vocal on this track can throw you a bit, round about the 5 minute mark…). Samba Do Budista has a lovely sketchy, ever so slightly sozzled feel: listen out for the groaning cello parts too, all top stuff. And Amoroso (all twelve minutes of it) is a tremendous ending, Homeric in length and beautifully balanced: the vocals may be that wee bit tremulous but they are steadfast in their resolve not to let you go at any point; it’s marvellous.
Throw in a couple of quiet, elegant instrumentals in Der Falsche Raum and Ingueno and it’s a pretty fab release all round. I admit it caught me on the hop, but glad I stuck with it.