Sunday, April 1, 2018

Vitor Bacalhau - Cosmic Attraction

Portuguese power trio isn’t a phrase you read every day.  But guitarist and singer - and, I believe, 2018 European Blues Challenge entrant - Vitor Bacalhau demonstrates that it isn’t just a punchline with his second album, Cosmic Attraction.  Aiming to deliver energetic blues rock, he and his compadres Joao Ventura on drums and Luis Trinidade may not offer
anything groundbreaking, but they do rock’n’roll with a rough and ready charm.  Opener 'Happy Man' is a brisk affair with only a pause for breath, with Bacalhau whacking out some
That's Vitor Bacalhau in there, apparently
jittery, gritty slide guitar, and extra layers of stinging guitar licks, over pounding drums from Ventura.
  'Who Do You Think You’re Fooling' keeps up the momentum, with swatches of fuzzed up guitar and a squelching solo. 'Old Soul', with producer Budda Guedes guesting on guitar and vocals, downshifts into a mid-paced strut, but its robust riff is also the first of a few nods in a vaguely Black Keys direction, which is just fine by me.  They really hit that nail on the head with 'Dirty Little Girl', one of the highlights of the album with its fuzzed up guitars and catchy, Keys-like chorus, while 'Walk Through Fire' hints at Auerbach and Carney’s more jagged moments.  It’s itchy, scratchy, and urgent, with a rasping vocal from Bacalhau, and squealing guitar licks penetrating the storm.  The hidden closing track 'Only The Strong Live Long' is a good fit alongside this stuff, a distorted acoustic stomp that’s appealingly rootsy.  Okay, so along the way 'I’ve Been Dreaming' is a so-so slower blues, and the title track is just typical power trio fare, although punctuated by some intriguing channel-switching guitar chords.  But 'Let Your Soul Go Free' clatters along merrily like Mk 2 Purple in one of their more ramshackle moments.  And the reflective 'Shooting Star' may not be very original, but it’s still evocative with its twinkling opening and sweeping slide notes, before closing with a squall of feedback-laced guitar. Cosmic Attraction may be a bit insubstantial at times, but it’s a likeable effort nonetheless.

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