Cara de Fuego


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A Spanish quintet let by the alluringly voiced Maria Rayo, Caradefuego sound like the Iberian equivalent of more recent Saint Etienne. The connection is most obvious when Rayo sings in her lower register, as on the title track, on which she sounds startlingly like Sarah Cracknell. Moreover, the sound of the record has a similar electro-indie feel: vintage synth burbles and downtempo beats blend with live percussion, guitar, and '70s-style electric piano for a sound that's less clinical than Air or Portishead, but with a similarly attractively chilly and often downcast vibe. Languid ballads like "Lagrimita" are Rayo's forte, but she also acquits herself well on sultry midtempo grooves like "Deusa Do Amor." Sophisticated, mature electronic pop equally suited for the chillout room or a small, hip dinner party, Masculina strikes a good balance between lighter-than-air froth and mellow languor.

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