It must be hard being the daughter of Brazilian music royalty. Bebel Gilberto's father is bossa nova pioneer Joao Gilberto; her mother is the acclaimed singer Miucha; and her former stepmother is the undisputed Queen of Breeze, Astrud Gilberto. With such pedigree, it's no wonder Bebel Gilberto sounds like she's sprinkling elements of all three into her latest album. Gilberto's self-titled sophomore effort is an elusive album, one that won't grow on you immediately. It's far too coy and understated (and sometimes overstated) for that, unless it's played solely for cozy dinner parties. Fans of Gilberto's celebrated debut, "Tanto Tempo," will appreciate that bossa nova is still the cornerstone of her sound. This time around, Gilberto inflates her sonic palette with more electronics and cascades of lush harmonies. "Simplesmente" is case in point. It glides along beautifully, like a Brian Wilson-penned bossa nova with the fellas from Air at the engineering board. Elsewhere, the album smacks of attempts at crossover success with second-rate lyrics in English and slick overproduction. "All Around" is rendered mush with cloying background vocals that sap any traces of soul. What worked so well for the Carpenters fails miserably here. Occasionally, the softness hits the mark, as on "Every Day You've Been Away;" a soft purr accentuates Gilberto's voice as she sighs, "So you've been gone and I am alone/ I love you so/ I love you so." Finally, she matches the artistry of her famous lineage. Or at least gives Astrud a run for her money.
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