Songs From the Tin is the first full-length album from the London-based group Da Lata. A group that synthesizes elements of traditional Brazilian music with European dancehall sensibilities, Da Lata's sound is a slickly produced amalgam of floating vocals, live percussion, electronic samples, string section arrangements, and gentle acoustic guitar lines. Rather than relying on the lifeless repetition of an electronically sampled and sequenced drum loop -- a practice that has been embraced by too many -- Da Lata anchors their songs in acoustic samba percussion patterns. Oli Savill and Christian Franck, along with contributors Carl Smith and Tristian Banks, are responsible for providing these Brazilian-inspired syncopations. Singer Liliana Chachian, who originally emigrated from Brazil in order to play with the London School of Samba, projects a slightly plaintive vocal style that, in turn, contrasts interestingly with the overall buoyant and optimistic feel of the album. (Oddly enough, the first song on the album, "Binti," does not feature Chachian. Instead, the song presents a one-time contribution by Parisian vocalist Deidre Dubois.) The string section -- which consists of a double bass, a viola, a cello, and two violins -- lends a lush and sentimental tonality to the mix. Producers Patrick Forge and Christian Franck adeptly weave together all the various elements on Songs From the Tin, though the level of the strings on such songs as "Cores" is too loud. Overall, Da Lata's Songs From the Tin is a very worthwhile CD that respectfully puts forward a contemporary Western European interpretation of Brazilian music.
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AllMusic Review by John Vallier