'Joyce's music exports well, partly because her voice works anywhere but also because...
Chris Moss 2003-07-16
Already well-liked for her breezy bossa novas and sambas, Joyce has come to the UK with a tour,a fresh set of songs and a stylish six-piece band. Ostensibly a new direction, putting a richer, more experimental sound to the fore rather than the overtly vocal-oriented and intensely personal 'woman's stories' of earlier albums, there's still plenty on Just a Little Bit Crazy to tempt traditionalists.
Norwegian pianist Bugge Wesseltoft is the star guest, weaving in his gentle, ambient jazz, but the percussion and wind instruments are given lots of breathing space - and the effect is a sparkling, seductive and beautifully balanced mix.
Vocally, Joyce's bossa is still rooted in Vinícius de Moraes and the seductive, dusky sound of sixties Rio. What she adds now is a friskier, more upbeat strain and her vocal range means she is always taking hew songs on meandering trips, even when trying to rein herself in. On "Os medos", she does the opposite, and is dark and haunting and very sexy too.
Joyce's music exports well, partly because her voice works anywhere but also because she resists fads or clumsy modernisation, preferring to tease a variety of Brazilian music genres - including, on this album, forro, maracatu and xote - into a sensual lounge sound. She gets away with all manner of poetic excesses in her lyrics, juxtaposing James Joyce and Molly Bloom with Mother Nature and Ave María, but Joyce's voice and producers Alberto Ranellucci and Guilherme Canaes spin all the potential clutter and clamour into a seamless whole.