The Mosquitos


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Maybe Chris Root really did get his love of Brazilian music in the womb, as the publicity for this record claims. Wherever it came from, it's real, although his playing is more a sketchy American approximation of the subtle rhythms of samba and bossa nova than the real complex thing. Not that it matters. His songs here, on Mosquitos, have an aura of joy -- often childlike -- that's echoed by the voice of Juju Stulbach (very breathy and seductive) and the keyboard work of Jon Marshall Smith. Root's Brazil might be, to an extent, an imaginary creation, but he loves playing there, and songs like "Mosquito" and "Boombox" have a soft energy and a sunny vitality. To be fair, none of it would work properly with all three people. Alone, Root would sound a little too naïve, too much like a kid scrawling in a book. His excesses are tempered by the others, and the result is some glorious pop music that's more Brazilian-inflected than really Brazilian proper. Root does get in a love song with "Juju & Blue," and "Pure Like Snow" is a gorgeous little piece. It might not be the American/Brazilian fusion of Arto Lindsay, but it works on its own terms, neatly crossing cultural and geographical boundaries. In their own quiet way, Mosquitos are quite revolutionary -- and great fun.

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