Quietly surfacing about a year before its accompanying full-length, Cibelle's About a Girl EP is brief at only four tracks, but nonetheless, it's thoroughly enjoyable and a perfect primer for The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves, the long-gestating album that would follow in 2006. Like The Shine, About a Girl opens with an ambient, almost a cappella cover song: the title track, originally penned by Kurt Cobain and performed by Nirvana. It may well seem like a surprising cover choice, since Cibelle's prior work had been primarily in the samba-lounge style synonymous with Suba, the producer with whom she established herself and, to an extent, remains associated. Yet the choice to cover a Nirvana hit -- rather than, say, a Jobim or Gilberto Gil song -- is no doubt a conscious decision by Cibelle to distance herself from her past. And indeed, the music of this EP and the subsequent LP bare little in common with the samba-lounge of Cibelle's past work. Rather, she's now cast herself as a bilingual Portuguese-English singer/songwriter in tandem with talented collaborators, namely Apollo Nove and Mike Lindsay, who are heavily involved with these songs. They grace Cibelle with acoustic guitar-driven soundscapes that serve as detail-rich canvases for her singer/songwriter poetics. This modus operandi, which would blossom a year later on The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves, is sketched out here on About a Girl, and indeed, this EP is just as creatively bountiful as that LP, albeit in an abbreviated fashion. A perfect primer, About a Girl signals a bold move away from "Brazilian" music toward an individual style, something that The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves does on a much grander scale.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2