Title - A Tentação do Fracasso
Artist - Atalhos
International music presents a unique challenge to the monolingual listener, sometimes - unfortunately - to the point where albums produced outside the United States rarely get the press they deserve inside the United States.
But occasionally, a non-English language band will come along that makes it incredibly easy to break through language and style barriers. So it is with Atalhos.
Based in Brazil, the (currently) two-man outfit of Gabriel Soares (vocals, drums, various other instruments) and Conrado Passarelli (guitar) have been in action since 2008, and have three titles to their credit leading up to their newest release, A Tentação do Fracasso (The Temptation of Failure), which debuted March 11, 2022 in the U.S.
On A Tentação do Fracasso, Soares and Passarelli crank their hazy, synth-driven sound up even higher than it was on their previous three records, which is saying quite a lot. And if the stylistic descriptor of ‘dream pop’ sounds unfamiliar or unappealing to you, by the end of the first track, you’ll be hooked.
1. Tierra del Fuego
2. A Tentação do Fracasso
3. Mesmo Coração
4. Te Encontrei em SP (ft. Delfina Campos)
5. Teoría del Cuerpo Enamorado (ft. El príncipe idiota)
6. A Distância (Fernweh)
7. Monica Vitti
From the opening track, Atalhos is presented as a band that is very even-tempered, with vocal melodies that are chill, bordering on hypnotic, and music that makes the absolute most of low-fi synth sounds and reverb.
While a solid 99 percent of the lyrics are in Portuguese, knowing even a small amount of Spanish might be able to get you halfway to getting the gist of the lyrics, particularly on tracks like Te Encontrei em SP, which features Argentine vocalist Delfina Campos singing in her own native language about the demise of a relationship, translated in English as: “I asked, “Where are you going?/You said, ‘What do you care?’/And I laughed…”
Even more than the sharpness of catchable lyrics, there’s a sultry saxophone that really emphasizes Campos’ delicate vocal contributions against the smoothness of Soares.
And while the hauntingly smooth vocal tones hit home run after home run, ambience is really the strong suit of the record. Tracks shift seamlessly between neo-psychedelia and straightforward guitar driven songs that sound as though they could be the soundtrack to the best skateboard video game you’ve never played. Mesmo Coração is the latter and is wonderful. But so is the entire album.
They say music is a universal language, so good music must mean that the artist is fluent in this language. And Atalhos’ fourth studio release is good music indeed.
Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte
Atalhos ft. Delfina Campos - Te Encontrei em SP (Clipe Oficial)
Atalhos @ Facebook
Atalhos @ YouTube
Atalhos @ Twitter
Atalhos @ Instagram
Atalhos @ Spotify