Album Review: Anelis Assumpção – Taurina [Scubidu Music; February 2018]

Taurina, the third album from Música Popular Brasileira (MPB) singer-songwriter Anelis Assumpção is calm tropicália, fuelled with Brazilian flavours; the country’s musical aesthetic is combined with progressive rock influences throughout the album. The smooth and funky grooves by the Sao Paulo based singer-songwriter are best suited to a warm Sunday morning, and her songs are backed by powerful musicians.

Nourished with Afro-Brazilian rhythms and soothing melodies, the music reaches calm crescendos within the album, like waves building against the shore. Assumpção’s voice tends to slide sympathetically across the keyboard, guitars and drums, creating comfortable collaborations. In songs like “Segunda a Sexta” the instruments seem to lie on the precipice of anticipation, as though drawing a collected, rhythmic breath between each groove. Assumpção’s vocals compliment this, going from smooth and enticing in songs such as “Mergulho Interior”, to rhythm laced melodies in Gosto Serena.

Throughout Taurina‘s smoothness, the album leaps towards groovy and funky elements. The band, made up of musicians Bruno Buarque, Cris Scabello, Mau, Mauricio Fleury, Edy Trombone and Beto Villares (who also produced the album), work tightly as a unit. The songs are in Portuguese aside from “Paint My Dreams”, which is the only song in English – albeit with a Portuguese introduction.

A cool feature of Taurina is in the introductory parts of the songs, which are, on occasion, a different musical style to the rest of the song. From the ethereal sounds in “Cha de Jassim”, and dub-reggae in “Mortal a Toa”, which turns into groovy basslines and call-and-response vocals halfway through the song. “Mortal a Toa” is a song that keeps on jamming and awakens the soul. The songs are smooth and interesting, although at times there are mischievous turns to keep the ears entertained. One example is “Amor de Vidro”, a song half spent with disjointed vocals before becoming captured with samba bass rhythms. All of these tactics and elements create cool stories that use soft arrangements for delightful listening.