Pitty

Chiaroscuro

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AllMusic Review by

The Brazilian top rock diva cited Queens of the Stone Age as an inspiration for her previous offerings, but her third record has more in line with the bands of the transitional grunge/post-grunge period, such as Candlebox and Seven Mary Three. Not that those are too far removed from what Josh Homme has been doing all his life, but Chiaroscuro lacks his intricacy in handling those heavy blues-rooted riffs, although it shares the same murky vibe that conquers images of a stifling desert twilight. The record is still a solid, no-frills affair mostly comprised of dirty buzzing guitars and Pitty's hoarse voice -- she will not be mistaken for Celine Dion anytime soon, but her style suits the music. This is a sound created by people who wanted to avoid both pomp and flippant kitsch -- two classic problems plaguing hard rock -- and in this, Pitty succeeds, delivering a set of gritty and serious tunes without a hint of juvenile kitsch. But she also runs headlong into a different problem, typical for the style she has chosen -- the sound is simply not gripping enough. A lack of pop hooks needs to be compensated for with power and groove, but both are in equally limited supply here -- the guitar is simply too low in the mix, as if it's still the '70s. It's obvious that the music has the potential to smash the audience like a freight train full of bricks, but it feels like that train is moving at walking speed, hinting at sonic devastation but never inflicting any. Repeated listens are likely to make Chiaroscuro grow on the listener -- and that Edvard Grieg quote in "Água Contida" is a sure winner -- but the album remains a rare case where cranking it up to 11 should have been embraced, not avoided.

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