Punk rock with indirect references from Brazilian popular culture is the hallmark of the band's debut album.
“Everything on this record is a provocation”, warns Rafael Balla, the composer and vocalist who names Balla and Os Cristais, the Rio de Janeiro – Brazil band. The debut album, “Jogo do Bicho”, which will hit digital platforms today, June 25, comes with seven tracks, five of them composed by the band and two covers - “Zé do Caroço”, a success by Leci Brandão, and “Comportamento Geral ”, classic by Gonzaguinha -, now in rock dressings.
The punk sound hits the ears, but with a Brazilian swing. If rock marks the entire album, it still leaves a comfortable space for popular culture references to swing in, deconstructing the American standards common in the genre.
“Jogo do Bicho” begins with “Vocês são todos idiotas” (You are all idiots), a song chosen to open most of the band's shows. “It entice people because they come expecting a rock concert and they are surprised by an acoustic guitar making a baião (tradicional rhythm of the Northeast of Brazil) beat with samba chord progression, then weight of our sound enters, causing a strangeness”, says Balla.
The next track, “Andam Dizendo” (So they say), is, according to the vocalist, “an urban and ironic chronicle about the elitism of our society, about what is populism and what is segregating in the hyped underground of Rio de Janeiro”
In the sequence we have “Matando Moinhos de Vento” (Killing Windmills) , which was the single chosen to be released before the album, “is an outburst about the chaotic and hypocritical world that we cultivate. And it kicks the bucket, as capital is still the purpose of human incarnation and we have to adapt. We inherit social problems that we don't even know where they came from”, says Balla, owner of a deep and velvety voice that takes over all spaces in the first chords.
The record advances and wins over the listeners. "Fala, quer invadir" (Say, Wanna break in) is another provocation, it was inspired by, according to the band, that kind of kid who fell crying in the playground, calls the nanny and leaves with ball, leaving his friends without options to play”. According to the singer, “this kid grew up and is paying 100K to promote his music on the platforms. (...) One fine day, we see that the playboy hit a million views. But it is not for merit, and this is a song of revenge, like Inglorious Bastards ”, referring to the film directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Then, two tributes: “Comportamento Geral” (Common Behavior), by Gonzaguinha, a critical and timeless hymn about the calm and subservient posture of the Brazilian worker, and “Zé do Caroço” (Joe Seed), by Leci Brandão. Both, played by well stablished artists, receives new interpretations in the euphoric style of the band.
Rafael Balla says that Leci's samba moves him by reminding him of his origins. “I go back to the memories of my family, to what I think I really am. It is a message to myself ”.
"Jogo do Bicho" ends with “Canta” (Sing), a more relaxed song, talking about sex and bringing a reference to the song “Circuito Universitário” (1973), by Zé Rodrix. “It was a memory in the quarantine, of the beauty and power that are large agglomerations, how much we need this to live ”, defends the vocalist.
The album was mixed by Jr. Tostoi and mastered by Carlos Freitas (João Gilberto, Tim Maia and Gilberto Gil, Chico Science). As a result, the band achieved an effusive sound, which makes you jump and budge.
The band Balla and the Cristais - da Percepção ou da Decepção debuted in August 2019 and played nine gigs in four months, recording this first album in January 2020. It is formed by Balla on vocals, Brunno Martins on guitar, Erick Ferreira on bass and Gustavo Almeida on drums.
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