In the most part it's so laid-back, it's horizontal.
Zoe Street Howe 2007-11-23
Yearning for some sleepily sensuous Brazilian ballads but bored of the current army of artists furiously recycling "Mas Que Nada"? If so, beauteous Brazilian pop icon, Paula Toller, may well come to the rescue. Possibly better known to those well-up on their Brazilian contemporary music as the lead singer of Kid Abelha, Toller's second solo album Sonos has already rocketed to the top of her home country's album chart. And it’s no particular surprise it’s been a chart-topper: This is a well-rounded release which shows off her versatile, velvety vocals to glowing perfection.
Melding the softest of pop, jazz and even a sprinkling of country ("A Noite Sonhei Contigo"), Toller's vocals bring a pure simplicity to an album which is glittering with intricacy, packed with layers of acoustic guitar and shimmering percussion. The strange sweetness of the hymn-like "Tudo Se Perdeu" (penned by Rufus Wainwright) is a melancholy highlight.
The haunting slide guitars inject the loping, C&W-infused "Long Way From Home" (sung in English) with a tinge of introspection. And even if you're no fan of the country genre, it's difficult not to be charmed by the hypnotic melodies Toller conjures up.
Downsides? Well, "Barcelona 16" is unfortunately on the bland side, and "Voce Me Ganhou De Presente" is soporific to a fault. No wonder they make the coffee so strong in Brazil, I'm in need of a few quadruple espressos already…
Toller collaborates with the Grammy-winning Kevin Johansen on the contemplative, piano-driven "Glass (You're So Brazilian)", and shares the songwriting on several tracks with Jesse Martin (better known as the writer who penned Norah Jones' smash hit, "Don’t Know Why"). The only real problem with this fine release, if you can call it a problem, is that in the most part it's so laid-back, it's horizontal. But depending on your mood when you stick it on, that could be a good thing.