Since 1991 the band Skank from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, hit the Brazilian music scene with an infectious mix of reggae, ska, pop and ballads. As their influences, the band likes to refer to the English and American pop music from the sixties and seventies, like the Beatles, The Police, Bob Dylan and others. On their 2001 best seller MTV Ao Vivo, which sold 800.000 copies, the impressive cover of Bob Dylan’s “Tanto (I Want You)” is a perfect example of the band’s dedication to that musical era. On their seventh album the song “Dois Rios” fulfils that role. The vocal arrangement has a clear mark of the Beatles on it, as does the instrumentation. With lyrics by Nando Reis and music composed by Samuel Rosa and Lô Borges the song climbed the Brazilian pop charts, mixing the Beatles with local musical inheritance. On most other songs on this album, the fruitful cooperation between the band’s lead vocalist Samuel Rosa with Chico Amaral continues to deliver solid pop songs.
The ballad “As Noites” could serve as one of those typical products of this partnership. Although the approach seems a little different from earlier works. More attention has been paid to the lyrics of the songs; a bit more complicated, at times more poetic. “Nômade” is the odd duck in Skank’s repertoire. Seems like they listened well to the direction Nação Zumbi chose for their most recent album (see review here). The song sounds a bit psychedelic with the sound effects and specially the Arabic voice of Moroccan Mineiro Paco Pigalle. The next song on the album “Vou Deixar” quickly takes us back on the Earth of the sixties, with a catchy melody and the characteristic choir lines of those flower-power times. “Formato Mínimo” is where the lyrics get a more poetic touch, carefully treasured in a friendly pop melody. “Os Ofendidos” changes the color, sounding more aggressive, with hard rock guitar lines. On “É Tarde” we hear a typical Skank ballad, reminding us of the earlier days of the band. “Sambatron” also has Skank written all over it, despite the use of sound effects.
After months in the studio, Skank didn’t want to sound the same as on their last studio album, Maquinarama, released in 2000. And it worked, the band proceeded by paying tribute to the influential music of earlier times. The harmonic vocal lines are polished and very well taken care of, while the compositions reflect musical memories many of us cherish. It’s a whole different approach than what we heard so far, but a well chosen addition to the bands history so far.
Skank is Samuel Rosa (vocals, guitars), Haroldo Ferretti (drums), Henrique Portugal (keyboards) and Lelo Zaneti (bass).
EPIC Sony 2 502975 (2003)
- Supernova (Samuel Rosa – Fausto Fawcett)
- As Noites (Samuel Rosa – Chico Amaral)
- Pegadas na Lua (Samuel Rosa – Humberto Effe)
- Amores Perfeitos (Samuel Rosa – Chico Amaral)
- Por um Triz (Samuel Rosa – Rodrigo F. Leão)
- Dois Rios (Samuel Rosa – Lô Borges – Nando Reis)
- Nômades (Samuel Rosa – Chico Amaral)
- Vou Deixar (Samuel Rosa – Chico Amaral)
- Formato Mínimo (Samuel Rosa – Rodrigo F. Leão)
- Resta um Pouco Mais (Samuel Rosa – Chico Amaral)
- Os Ofendidos (Samuel Rosa – Chico Amaral)
- É Tarde (Samuel Rosa – Chico Amaral)
- Um Segundo (Samuel Rosa – Chico Amaral)
- Sambatron (Samuel Rosa – Chico Amaral)