Reconciling the many selves contained within each of us can be a life-long project. Artists, in particular, tend to embody many splintered personalities that resist convergence. The usual result of trying to exorcise all the creative influences is a watered-down mess like Sublime. Portugalís main export, Primitive Reason, draws from so many internal and external voices that in all probability, too many cooks will spoil the broth. Consider the styles presented; hip-hop, dub, ska, beat jazz, sitar, mariachi, and metal. And my friends, that is only the first song! All the ingredients for disaster are available, but the mastery of each style and the tapestry woven with them makes for one amazing recording. Each added element builds more excitement and interest. Oh, and the nurturing message and generous street poetry donít hurt either.
Guillermo de Llera Blanes is responsible for much of the beauty perpetrated here. "The Day Will Come" with all its varied sounds still leaves room to breathe. Linked so naturally with rubber-lipped rap, it flows like the harsh words that accompany it. "At first panic, then peace. Like a warm, wet mother enveloping her life then taking it away forever." The sparse underpinning electric hum of "The Sage" gives way to traditional Brazilian death metal. No cheap rhymes, "The ones that strip and bathe us strip us of our natural laws. The ones that bathe and clothe us bathe us in their rational flaws." The song uses explicit analogies of weed as lover. Gently, "El Plumera" whispers a dreamlike story of wisdom. A female voice joins the storyteller, strengthening the line by agreement. Minimal, and delicate organ and flute and a touch of ska guitar maintain a low darkness.
Classy spy horns straight out of The Prisoner announce "No Lying Strings." Vocal duties are juggled between narrator, acrobat rapper and Big Chief style reggae croaking. The dynamic shifts and swells with a real nice flow. Staccato horns punctuate at the climax. Gothic dark guitar ripples into brash metal on the mythic Wanea. "A conquer at the cocoon. Conquest to the capsule that covers and encloses seed soul." Dancehall dub echoes to "Beat Down", the least grabbing track thus far. "Dust" melds club jazz into a swarthy tropic trance. A bachelor-pad Bond filmtrack with spiritual implications. Soft ska with Save Ferris warmth but malevolent visions of ancient depth on "Dream 2831." "Withered or divine, the snake arrives to bestow. Permeates, dualistic world it flows." Furious dulcimer hammering precedes the hardcore rap of "Walkabout." With obstacle-course wordplay, it explores the options of traditionally oppressed peoples. Rather than assimilation, it encourages, "Iím taking my piece of the overall puzzle and colouring it with a colour that fits me. And a pitch that intrigues me. And a scent of the deep." Which greatly defines the amalgam of this band. Hidden track "Iím the man, who da man?" continues the message with a vengeance. A hard hitting, broken groove that asks more questions than it resolves.
How Some Of Us has crept unnoticed escapes me. The power shown by this outfit has garnered them stages with Fishbone, Misfits, and Murphyís Law. This is true world music on an expansive level. Recommended only for people with a pulse.
- The Day Will Come
- El Plumera
- No Lying Strings
- Beat Down
- Dream 2831
- Poison Plants