Zuco 103

From Jamaican dub to European electro, Zuco 103 scours the world for its exceptional new album, Whaa! The European-Brazilian group blends its light electronica with the Latin rhythms of bossa nova legend Roberto Menescal, the dub thump of reggae pioneer Lee "Scratch" Perry, and the quirky, cute vocals of Spanish vocalist Lilian Vieira. Vieira lets her hair down for the techno-samba of "Na Mangueira," while the bossa novainflected "Nhá," which features Menescal on guitar, finds the singer in a more somber mood. The chemistry between Perry and Vieira is clearly palpable on the standout tracks "Love Is Queen Omega" and "It's a Woman's World." Their voices blend together seamlessly, as if they've been playing together for years. It's just one example of the cross-cultural synchronicity that makes this album so engaging.

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Ernest Barteldes