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Roupa Nova: Roupa Nova em Londres

Album Notes

That Roupa Nova em Londres went gold in Brazil despite sporting a variety of covers and old songs in addition to its seven new tunes is a testament to the staying power of soft rock. The album plays like a textbook or an omnibus of pop music from the '80s, '70s, and an even earlier age (as evidenced by the true-to-the-spirit rendition of "She's Leaving Home"), and it is fun simply to trace all of its abundant influences -- a Rod Stewart weepy ballad, a quasi-hard-rock mix of Asia and Whitesnake, acoustic ditties with bluesy backing vocals, something that sounds straight out of the Italian San Remo festival, straightforward power pop, and so on. It can be said that melodic rock tracks with huge choruses form the backbone of the record, but that's only a formality -- Roupa Nova em Londres is obviously intended to be a jack of all trades, a synthetic blast from charts of the past that does not give a damn about stylistic unity as long as it can entertain. But the funniest thing is, it works, and the album does sound cohesive despite the style-hopping, because, after all, real pop music -- to which soft rock undoubtedly belongs -- is supposed to be omnivorous, and Roupa Nova em Londres is quality pop. It is too dated to compete in the charts with modern pop heroes, but the band makes its own sappy music with a genuine earnestness that few artists of the post-Britney age would dare to display, and this naïve love of kitsch is, in fact, what holds the album together and makes it such an adorable affair. Of course, its hooks are not up to the level of the finest from the '80s, but beating a whole decade of music is probably too much to ask -- it's enough that Roupa Nova can hold their own against it. ~ Alexey Eremenko



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