TALES OF HIGH FEVER
I hate dance music. I think most Americans who swear by those Brazilian beats are just working out some liberal guilt. But I don't hate Zuco 103's Tales of High Fever: this German/Dutch/Brazilian trio reinvents the miracle of their debut Outro Lado by combining these annoying-on-their-own genres into a sound that'll make even a wallflower like me shake seu cu. The tracks on Tales of High Fever sparkle with danceability, marrying the usual suspects of pan-Brazilian music (samba, bossa nova and countless other traditions of the rhythms-rich country) to electronica, jazz, even a sprinkling of African-American R&B. It's a slinky recording, as relevant in the bedroom as it is on the dance floor, thanks especially to siren Lilian Vieira, who's as adept at rapping as she is at scatting and just plain belting out powerhouse vocals. With a husky voice that should be hosting a slow jams show, Viera injects her lyrics with vibrancy, whether the songs are dealing with the anguish of migrants ("Peregrino"—imagine "Living for the City" with samba/funk style) or railing against an inefficient bureaucracy on the sardonic "Brasil 2000." But solutions to our problems aren't what Zuco 103 seeks to give the masses—that was the first album. "Come, my friend Music/Come save me once again," Vieira sings, backed by the dreamy beat of "Treasure." Here, the solution is the sound.