Hear The Track HereAlthough I call myself a world musician, and I use elements of many different countries in my own work, I have to shamefully admit that there is one area of world music I don't really care for and that is Latin music. Actually, it's probably much more like commercial Latin music but let that ride for now. Cartas à Julie-Marie contacted me through the review blog a while back and I have been trying to get some room to hear this CD so my apologies to the band for taking forever to get this review done. Cartas à Julie-Marie are a three piece from Brazil consisting of Alex Frechette on piano and vocals, Andrea Amado on drums and Peter Strauss on guitar. So, being my usual lets-jump-to-the-easiest-conclusion automatically assumed that I would be hearing (makes quote sign) Latin music and yes, For sure the language is latin BUT the grooves and moves that Cartas à Julie-Marie display on this 12 track CD show that there is much, much more them than the sound of really irritating brass.
The CD seems to have some kind of theme but not knowing a word of any foreign language other than cursing, I am at a loss to explain. Tell you what though, their website is very, very slick and will doubt explain the whole concept and it's worth checking out in its own right. Best band site I've seen in a while I think. Yeah, yeah but what about the music? Well track one, La prelude, well give you a Latin feel but not as you would expect. As the title implies it's short, forty seconds, and leads into the first full track La decouverte, a loose jazzy song that - to my ears anyway - had a touch of experimental about it, and even a little blues thrown into the bargain. It shows that Alex, Andrea and Peter know what they are about and is one of those tracks that you really have to hear for a while before it finally makes sense. La Risque literally springs out of the gate and pelts as fast as the band can spur it and is definitely one of those tracks that have people whooping along - provided they had the same turn of speed. Excellent stomper.
What comes across most about this CD is how varied and eclectic the instrumentation, one of those musical projects that - should you wait long enough - that seems to use every sound known to man, and all of it done in a very tasteful manner. Funnily enough, all my mumbling about irritating brass earlier on and La monde does indeed feature a variety of this but the arrangement it is encased in doesn't allow it much room to be anything but rhythmic. Alex Frechette's piano work is really the main instrument, it carries almost every tune but that is - in no way - to denigrate the sterling efforts of Andrea's rock solid drumming (not an easy task with this kind of material) or Peter Strauss's telling guitar work. Although I like the freshness and vitality the band bring to their music, I'm pretty sure there are going to be many more who will appreciate it's mix of styles and blends. Overall, more jazzy than almost anything else, anyone who likes to hear something markedly different from the indie norm will find much here to delight in.
Recommended blend of jazz and other flavas ;)