At first listen Rive Gauche Rio seems like an extension of Celso Fonseca's prior disc, with its gentle, acoustic bossa nova and sophisticated sounds. But go a little deeper and you'll find a layered animal, with very subtle programming touches burbling under the instruments, as on "Um Mundo Estranho," where there's plenty to delight the ear just below the surface. Above all, there's an excellence in songwriting, whether it's Fonseca's own memorable melodies or his choice in covers, like Jorge Drexler's "Don de Fluir," which floats on hanging chords from a Fender Rhodes, or Damien Rice's "Delicate." Everything's lovingly understated, but still quite detailed, with some lovely arrangements (check the wordless "Atlantico" for example, or the shimmer of "Pousada"). Inevitably, there's a jazzy, languid feel to much of the material, like the lazy sax that swims across "Na Pele de um Flaneur," giving a retro '50s and '60s touch to the song that brings it alive. So while the ambience isn't that different, Fonseca's been tweaking things, experimenting a little, and the result is a disc that's more adventurous, and actually more artistically successful and pleasing than his first.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson