Tom & Joy

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Antigua Review

by John Bush

It's clear that Tom & Joy's hearts are in Rio de Janeiro, but they are comfortable (and far better off) when they blend the bossa with a wide palate of acoustic songcraft. Antigua, easily the most highly promoted album of their career yet released (it gained U.S. distribution through Tommy Boy), is also their most ambitious -- and successful. Naturally, it begins in a warm place, with the Jobim cover "Meditation," which Joyce Hozé delivers caressingly while Thomas Naïm quotes several bossa masters with his guitar. After dispatching the Brazilian chestnut, however, Tom & Joy sound much more sure of themselves, switching from double bass to electric and replacing the strings with a brass section on "Imagina" and the title track. "Be Mine" is the highlight of the record, beginning with a horn arrangement reminiscent of Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" that slowly slides away into space with help from organ and keyboards. The strings, as well as the Brazilian influence, return several times, but Tom & Joy show admirable presence of mind in not leaning on their musical mentors any more than necessary.

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