Rômulo Fróes, Cão

Peter Margasak

By Peter Margasak

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
One Paulista looks to prove that quiet is the new loud.

This Paulista cleaves pretty close to bossa nova and samba traditions, but his sharp, brilliant and lean arrangements infuse his beautiful originals with energy and style a la Arto Lindsay. Froes doesn't have the greatest voice, but he expertly manipulates it in the hushed bossa nova style, taking the sort of pleasure in every consonant and vowel that made Joao Gilberto such a genius. Most of the rhythms use the brisk, sensual tempos of samba, while his voice plays against the groove, elaborating each syllable with exquisite patience for a delicious tension. Some of Sao Paulo's best musicians help him out, including the great Curumin on percussion, but the album's real secret weapon is guitarist Lanny Gordin, a guy who played the wiggly leads on some of Tropicália's greatest records (Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil) and has recently returned to music after a long absence. His solos accent the lovely songs with biting acidity combined with lyric ease.