Kekell Sá - Fortaleza

Owain Paciuszko 08/12/2010

Rating: 2/5

Play It opens this record from Brazilian singer Kekell Sá with reasonably playful percussion rattling along with a certain enjoyable Mardi Gras feelings, but all goodwill I can muster towards the track, holding my cynicism at bay, is kicked roughly in the shins by the introduction of Kekell's heavily vocodered vocals which makes this feel more like a track constructed from the memory banks of Pop-bot 5000 rather than any human being.

It's also hard to really start enjoying the 8-bit synth lines flickering in the background of My Zamba with the dark cloud of insipid pop vocals lurking around the corner, admitedly this track isn't as awful as the opener with some nice choices with regards to chord progression and may be enjoyed by fans of Pussycat Dolls. Moon (Lua) with peculiar dog bark backing vocals is a slinkier pop number that has a bit of a Gloria Estefan-vibe at times, albeit married to more modern production tics, which is a shame, as it's usually on the more natural instrumentation that these songs - which are aiming for chart friendliness - work better, and maybe if Kekell strayed from a path already being walked (and won) by the likes of Shakira then maybe she'd have something to set her apart from the crowd.

Alas a dreary ballad like Me Beija doesn't help, meanwhile Karma marries a production similar to Abba's Tragedy with a B-movie theremin, but lyrically it's a flat affair with cheesy synth stabs only suffocating the already weak chorus further. A laidback Latin America swing sound is dashed against squeaky vocals that were probably aiming for sultry on Lost & Found; as with many of the tracks on this record it's the producer who are scoring the most points, getting a chance to try out a few little special effects (such as a nifty slow-down on the vocals at one point here) or adding a dash of fun instrumentation to otherwise bland arrangments.

Morning After is piano driven dancefloor with lyrics like 'My friends they keep on sayin'/Tell the DJ to keep on playin', and would probably disappear into the sweaty ether of an Ibiza nightclub. Occasionally closing track Addict sounds a bit like Cindy Wilson from The B-52s over a J-Lo track, which probably wasn't quite what Kekell was going for, and ends the album on a disposable, lightweight note with the record's finest, silliest chorus.

A fluffy pop record that won't really appeal to anyone outside of its demographic, but some okay production makes a handful of tracks here more listenable than they perhaps deserve to be. Kekell's voice on these songs does the job, but lacks the personality that makes someone like, say, Shakira or Nelly Furtado the chart-topping popstars that they are.