Caetano Veloso ‘Zii e Zie’ (Wrasse) 4/5

caetano-velosoNow going by first name only, such is his notoriety, Caetano Veloso returns reinvigorated and refreshed with an album that harks back to the 1980s. Gone are the strings and layered production of his 1990s recordings and in comes a pared down, altogether funkier feel courtesy of producers Pedro Sa and Caetano’s son Moreno Veloso. This lighter and brighter indie rock sound is typified by the album’s immediate winner and surefire dancefloor hit (especially if elongated as a re-mix)in ‘A cor amarela’ which could prove to be a key soundtrack to the summer. Almost as good is the mid-tempo ‘Sem cais’ with delicate vocals from Caetano and a simple but devastatingly catchy guitar riff. A major surprise is in store on the radical reworking of the samba classic ‘Incompatibilidade de genios’ which Joao Bosco made a hit out of during the mid-1970s. Here it is transformed into a languid indie folk ballad which only an artist with the imagination of Caetano could have conceived and realised. Pure genius. The social rap on ‘A base de Guanatanamo’ recalls the collaboration with Gilberto Gil on ‘Haiti’ from the early 1990s. Samba-flavoured percussion simmers on ‘Ingenuidade’ while ‘Por quem’ is a beautiful ballad. Arguably Caetano’s best album in over a decade and sure to win over a younger audience as well as the faithful.

Tim Stenhouse