Alpes / Catherine Ribeiro

La Deboussole

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On La Deboussole, les Alpes treads into a more conventionally accessible sound and away from the experimentalism of earlier works. In fact, the band is far more funky on this outing, with driving bass hooks on most of the tracks. There are enough peculiar touches to keep it from being so much stale pop fodder, especially with the addition of a violinist adding some old European-style charm. Unfortunately, Ribeiro's voice gets confined or lost in these less free-form arrangements. It's only on the last cut, a new version of "Paix," where she finally gets to cut loose with some of her strange and emotionally intense vocalizing, and even that piece is better heard on the album of the same name. The rest is OK, odd progressive funk music with Ribeiro's unique voice, but none of it is anywhere as distinct as the material from previous albums.

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