Seu Jorge Cru

This is a big gambit for Seu Jorge. Having been a central figure in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, he further cemented his ultra-cool and somewhat menacing image established by City of God. This album will gain entry to an audience that probably wouldn’t be hip to most new Brazilian releases simply on the cool factor of those two movies — this is why a fine balance between confirming the image proper artistic representation must be struck. Cru means raw, and it delivers the goods. The standout track is the opener "Tive Razao,” which has been kicking around for a couple of years, but is still a gorgeous, yearning song. It’s a template for the whole album, his rich deep voice caresses the melody, anchored by understated samba percussion and embellished slightly by a squiggly electronic melody. The hip-hop reminiscent percussion keeps the first half of the disc’s momentum percolating. Another early highlight is his unusual cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s "Chatterton,” featuring an aggressive synth bass and his most ferocious vocals. However, he settles into a vocal and acoustic guitar format in the disc’s latter part, putting his lovely song-craft front and centre and prompting comparisons to Nick Drake in the album’s press. This is mature, urban music that crosses over in a different way — he’s developed his own minimalist and subdued style that is most definitely Brazilian to the core. (Wrasse)