Album Reviews: With Lasers by Bonde do RolêBrazilian trio Bonde Do Role were discovered by Diplo, while the American DJ was in Rio scavenging for CD-Rs of funk carioca—a genre of Brazilian party music he helped popularize through his work with M.I.A. Bonde do Role don't hail from the hillside slums like most of the funkeiros; though they embrace the music's klepto-pop aesthetic, their sample-happy tunes are more the work of art-school impishness than favela chic.
The trio hotwires funk carioca's deep and dirty electro rhythms, tricking them out with all manner of ADD accoutrements and candy-colored production twists. The frenetic, busy sound of this debut LP is largely thanks to Bonde's Rodrigo Gorky, who's a solid DJ and producer in his own right. He performs a lot of high-risk, high-payoff sonic gymnastics here, from dazzling 8-bit Casiotone melodies to meaty guitar hooks straight off a hair metal track (or is that Daft Punk? Lasers indeed).
But gleeful excess is a tough formula to pull off all the time, and occasionally the pastiche dissolves into a garish chorus of kazooes (literally). At times like these, it's Bonde's MC Marina Ribatski who comes to the rescue. Her charmingly bratty rapping is irresistible, whether she's spouting a stream of dirty Portuguese or puzzling English ("Meet me after school and I beat you like gorilla!"). It's these kind of playful and baffling details that make With Lasers a thoroughly enjoyable record.
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