Strong and varied set from this hard-to-pigeonhole Brazilian duo.
David Katz 2013
Nunca Te Vi De Boa is another of those albums that may not leap out and grab the listener on first spin. It’s a slow creeper that may take a while to seep into the veins. But once its contents are digested a few times, a number of nice musical touches become apparent, helping it get under the skin.
One of its best characteristics is that it’s not an easy album to classify. For racking purposes it’ll fall under the heading of Brazilian indie-pop; but it’s a set that never really stands still, possessing a pleasing form of continental drift.
Although this is the first album to bear the trashy moniker Sexy Fi, Nunca Te Vi De Boa is the second collaborative project pairing sultry singer Camilla Zamith and versatile guitarist Praxis.
The pair met during studies at the University of Brasilia, and their first collaboration, the EP Chora Matisse, surfaced in 2009, when their band was called Nancy. Fast-forward a few years, change the line-up and you wind up with Sexy Fi, after Zamith spent several years in London and Praxis moved to Rio.
Zamith has attracted comparisons to Beth Orton and Cat Power, but she definitely has her own singing style. There’s no trace of an accent when Zamith sings in English, though the Portugese numbers – like promising opener Pequeno Dicionário das Ruas and the contemplative Plano: Pilotis – somehow sound more natural.
The horns that surface towards the end of the latter track have a very Brazilian feel. In contrast, the vaguely bluesy semi-skank of Macumba finds Zamith warbling about shooting the sheriff and being disappointed by the colour of her knickers; Bofe Story features deep bass that nicely balances Praxis’ lilting lead riffs.
And Zamith has nowhere to hide on Togetherness, which is delivered as a three-part unaccompanied round.
Despite initial impressions of potential pretentiousness, Nunca Te Vi De Boa is definitely worth investigating.