Though Sabrina Malheiros' recording career dates back to the late 1990s, Clareia is only her fourth solo long-player, and her first in six long years. The break was the result of 13 years of intense activity. Though she'd released only three long-players during the period, there were numerous 12" singles, remixes, and featured vocal appearances with dance music producers and her father Alex Malheiros' groups Banda Utopia and Azymuth. While her previous catalog filtered breathtaking nu-bossa through jazz, hip-hop, samba, and R&B, Clareia offers a new dimension, deriving its inspiration from '80s Brazilian soul and disco, making it a perfect entry for summertime. Like its predecessor, Clareia was produced and arranged by Daniel "Venom" Maunick, son of Incognito's Bluey; he also handles the programming and synths. Two-thirds of Azymuth are present here, with Alex in the bass chair and keyboardist Kiko Continentino on piano and Rhodes. Celebrated Brazilian reed and woodwind masterLeo Gandelman also lends a hand on a couple of tracks.
Malheiros wrote eight of this set's eleven tracks and co-wrote the rest. The difference in approach is evident from the go with "Celebrar." Driven by Alex Malheiros' popping bassline, its grooving funk is illustrated by syncopated acoustic piano, spiraling synth, handclaps, drums and percussion, and pulsing acoustic guitar. "Porto Do Sol" is faster and breezier as it weds samba and disco, while "Sol, Ceu e Mar" displays a slapped bassline that contrasts beautifully with atmospheric synths andContinentino's elegant jazz fills. "Renascera" is pure light, its bumping bassline and sultry Rhodes are appended by handclaps, whistles, jagged synths, programmed beats, and cooking organic percussion.Malheiros hovers above it all, and her vocals glide effortlessly through her lyrics, creating blissful resonance. The title track melds soul and samba, while "Sandore" is deep pocket nu-bossa complete with Gandelman's flute playing the role of a duet partner. (It and his sax can also be heard on the slippery samba of "Vai, Maria," complete with batacuda drumming.) Malheiros closes her set with the spacy, nu-bossa of "Ultraleve," with Alex's fuzzy bassline in the role of a lead guitar. Sabrina's multi-tracked vocals inhabit the gauzy heat of the arrangement with rimshot snares and hi-hats, synth squiggles, and Rhodes arpeggios. It's the perfect sendoff for a humid summertime album. Malheiroshas expanded her palette on Clareia, but she hasn't lost her signature sound in the process; she's integrated it. This is a seamless and sensual listening experience whether taken in under the sun, under the stars, or in a club.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
Full Review: All Music