Brazilian pop star Ed Motta is back with his 14th studio album. Inspired by movies (George Cukor, Jacques Tati) and old TV series (“Barnaby Jones”, “The Streets Of San Francisco”, “Colombo”), his psychedelic soul, as he himself calls his music, has reached another level. Recorded in Brazil (his main band), Detroit (brass) and LA (singers), the album starts off with the FILMharmonic Orchestra from Prague before Ed’s signature AOR soul sound kicks in on “Newsroom Customers”. His first single off the album, “Safely Far”, has been out for a while now and still sounds incredibly good and very Steely Dan-like, especially on the background vocals which feature the great Paulette McWilliams.
There is a lot to discover here, like the trippy harp on “Slumberland” or the prominent guitar parts courtesy of João Oliveira. There is a great shuffle groove on “Gaslighting Nancy” which also includes more of those intense backing vocals. The most cinematic track here is perhaps the short “Of Good Strain”, sort of an alternative avantgarde art piece. “Quatermass Has Told Us”, inspired by the British science fiction serial from the 50s, is another pretty sophisticated and his most accomplished work here. I really like the more folk-rock-blues-oriented “Buddy Longway”, a one-minute interlude where Ed’s vocals really shine. I also realized that the production is superb throughout and really comes to the fore on the blue-eyed-soul Steely Dan-styled “Shot In The Park”. My favorite is the Rhodes-induced, brassy slight funk of “Deluxe Refuge”. Stunning!
Ed’s thick and strong voice gets pretty jazzy on “Tolerance On High Street” and the album closes with a musical-style storytelling drama ballad called “Confrere’s Exile”. The album is out on vinyl too!