Wowwww a 1981 Brasilian album with a super-tripped-out cover it must be some crazy decadent disco-samba explosion, right? Or some wild, fucked-up fuzz-out prog-rock? Or a lush, synthy MOR easy-listening thing with lots of unfamiliar weirdness?
Er, kind of.
Eduardo Dusek's debut album is crazy and fucked-up and unfamiliar, all right. Except it's nothing like what even a seasoned fan of Brasilian pop could expect.
While Caetano and company drew inspiration from British and American rock, fusing it with the broad legacy of Brasilian rhythm and their own personal politics to craft something beautiful and new, Eduardo Dusek seems more infatuated with Broadway and/or the music you hear on Main Street at Disney World®.
There's some bossa nova, some samba, some crazy forró-sounding Dixieland, and increasingly, lots of caffeinated kookiness that seems like it must be a parody of Brasilian music as a whole. I don't know jack shit about Dusek or his possible subversiveness, but Olhar Brasileiro sure sounds more sarcastic than any Brasilian record I've heard.
He indulges in zaniness that would make the Mutantes wince in embarassment. Either he's one of the funniest songwriters ever perhaps a Brasilian Neil Innes? or maybe he's just crap? I'm not entirely sure!
The album starts out normal enough, but by the sixth or seventh track, there's an amazingly comedic vibe which, given the language barrier, I can't make heads or tails of. Styles careen into each other like paint and pig intestines at a high school hazing. Songs sound alternately like straight MPB, Grease-style fake doo-wop, self-loathing tango made for the stage, and, at one point, sitcom theme.
I don't know what Dusek was up to with all this, but several moments made me want to denounce Brasilian music altogether. Yet other parts were the coolest shit I've heard in awhile. The last track sounds like the big finale in a Brasilian circus.
I was tempted to rate this one a blank stare, but as I listened to it more, I found myself perversely liking it, perhaps in the same way one might enjoy a loved one farting on his or her head.
Review by La Fée