Words by Howard Male
Who knows if it was anarchic perverseness, artistic vision, or a bit of both that prompted this formidable São Paulo band to open their second album with a dissonant two-minute whirlwind of squealing car-breaks sax, bish-bash percussion and wilfully distorted vocals. But the important thing is that, once you get through this brief storm, the sun is shining on the other side. From then on Metal Metal is a cool, measured delight that unselfconsciously mixes art rock, modern jazz and funky Afro-Brazilian rhythms while folding in tales of some long-neglected gods and goddesses of the ancient Yoruba people.
When Kiko Dinucci’s heavy guitar and Thiago Franca’s sinuous sax are wrestling for dominance behind Jucara Marcal’s measured vocals, the resulting thunderous wall of sound is not unlike Neneh Cherry’s recent work with free jazz trio The Thing. Then, by contrast, a track such as the ragged but laid-back ‘Cobra Rasteira’ brings to mind Marc Ribot’s excellent outfit Los Cubanos Postizos. One can also detect the influence of Ribot’s regular employer Tom Waits in many of the arrangements. But what’s really compelling about this album is the way the band achieve a perfect balance between avant-garde boundary-stretching and a knack for memorable hooks and danceable grooves.
Track to Try: ‘Orunmila’