Gal Costa

Legal

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On Legal, the follow-up to her extremely bombastic self-titled release, Gal Costa retains only some of the fire and experimentation, instead opting to return to more accessible and subdued arrangements. This was likely a wise decision on Costa's part, even though the reckless abandon she displayed on Gal Costa was astonishing, for her to recklessly continue flailing down that path would've certainly led to her burning out or completely alienating the public she was trying to inform. Furthermore, Legal is a much more diverse record than her previous records, displaying influences from American blues-rock, R&B, and soul with winding, organ-driven rock closer to the sound Milton Nascimento would later latch onto and nurture with his Clube da Esquina albums. This diversity is welcome and served as a setup for Costa to further explore complex arrangements on her later records. Costa's lovely voice flourishes on the jazzy churning of "Língua Do P," the emotional groove of "Mini-Misterio" as well as the gorgeous version of Caetano Veloso's "London, London" -- certainly included as a reminder to the Brazilian public of her comrades (Veloso and Gilberto Gil) who were still exiled for upending politics through their radical music. The only questionable track on the album is "Love, Try, and Die," which has a fun, bouncy Dixieland style but is ruined by the unnecessary and terrible Louis Armstrong impersonation contributed by one of the backing vocalists. In spite of this small blunder, Legal appears near the beginning of Costa's most consistent period and should be sought out by those interested in the revolutionary late-'60s/early-'70s period of Brazilian rock.

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