Review Lulina — Cristalina

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Cristalina is Lulina‘s first official release, following 8 eight albums (over 6 years) of various independent/home-made ventures. The album collects 18 of the best songs from this period, and was released in Brazil in 2009. We were a bit slow in catching onto this one, but in the hopes that one day this or another Lulina album may be released internationally this is our review.

There are two elements that really stand-out in this album. The first is Lulina’s delivery. With or without an understanding of Portuguese, it is clear these songs are personal, pulled from her surroundings, from her circles of friends, experiences, everyday thoughts, etc. It’s this personal delivery which guides each song, making you want to inhabit them, to retreat into a magical corner of the world.

The second element is the sheer melodism of the album. Throughout vocals, guitars, keyboards and a variety of other instruments show a knack for picking out subtle, and unexpected melodies. The kind of melodies that slowly shuffle their way into your brain until, before you know it, you’ve been sucked into Lulilandia (Lulina’s name for her self-created universe). There is a definite kinship here with bands including Architecture in Helsinki, especially due to the same love for new wave keyboards, and the indie-pop experiments of Little Wings.

The albums starts with “Criar Minhocas é Um Negocio Lucrativo, a subdued slice of tropicália that starts the album off with a strangely murky tone. Following it are a holy triumvirate of great pop; “Nós”, “Bichinho do Sono” and “Margarida,” each takings its own root, whether using a capella vocals, banjo or incredible electro keyboards, to your heart.

Out of the 18 tracks on this album it would be impossible to name all the highlights, as it’s almost every track, but a few are worth a particular mention. For rousing sing-along you can’t do much worse than “Balada do Paulista,” a tribute to Sao Paulo slang which features a chorus of “Puta, Meu, Tipo, Nossa, Cara” (which translates something like “Woah, man, this is our thing!,” though I think these are some of those slang expressions which really shouldn’t have a direct translation.

A willingness to be creative is evident in songs such as “Do You Remember Laura?” with it’s homespun piano intro that reveals a lilting melody, and “Bosta Nova” with possibly the biggest chorus on the album. So big in fact that it gets its own countdown.

Cristalina is one of the albums that you will keep coming back to. There is an intrinsic beauty within all of these songs, created by the charm of Lulina’s singing along with the sheer love of melody and creativity in the construction of each song. I could keep coming with the superlatives, but I will stop with one with last statement. You need to listen to this album. I swear you will not be disappointed.

Cristalina is streaming from Lulina’s website. There is also a shop link there. Not sure how many international orders they get for the CD though so it might be something of a step into the unknown.


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