Jupiter Apple


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This is a very odd pop proposition from Voiceprint's Brazilian branch, an album filled with catchy hooks, intriguing twists, and self-indulgent stretches. Jupiter Apple is a gifted alternative songwriter in the vein of Cornelius or even Beck (although he sounds little like them). If his lyrics betray a certain clumsiness with the English language, his music on the other hand shows a wild creativity, a desire to push pop song structures to their limits, and a taste for excess. Drawing on alternative Japanese pop, the disco revival, analog synths (lots of Moog) and Brazilian dances, he has come up with an infectious album, Hisscivilization. Some tracks have been tailored to hit you on first listen: "Pyrus Malus et Fragaria Vesca" and "Exactly" are dancefloor stompers -- the latter with a little glam touch. But other pieces demand a few listens to reveal their pleasures. The album's only flaw is its duration -- problem is, it's a big one. Not only does Hisscivilization clock in at 78 minutes, but most of its 13 tracks could have been substantially shortened. Take, for instance "The Homeless and the Jet Boots Boy." By itself it is an amazing song, with a mad, fast-paced 6/8 feel, and plenty of stuff happening under a slow melody in wide intervals. Six or seven minutes long, it would have been perfect, but Jupiter Apple stretches it to 11 minutes without any reason. The same goes for "Exactly," and the three-part "Aquarius and Pisces," by far the most experimental piece in this set. "Act Not Surprised" and "Metropole" provide other strong moments, thanks to their half-kitsch, South American feel (think of a re-actualized take on Sergio Mendez).

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