CD, Apegenine, 2008
I seem to be overcome with a wealth of different possible artists I could relate with :papercutz to begin with – to get you to pay attention – but anything I use couldn’t get close to their sound. It’s a pleasant rarity when something reaches my ears that is even vaguely unique, but I think I have this with the utterly gorgeous “Lylac”.
:papercutz is the creation of one Bruno Miguel, with Melissa Veras on vocals and Francisco Bernardo on guitar and various other instruments. Together they create something which can loosely be described as leftfield pop music. It has huge swathes of electronica, samples and added acoustic instruments, with the beautiful voice of Melissa. Sometimes the lyrics are English, other times they stick with their native Portuguese. It’s a really interesting mixture.
“A Secret Search” is easily one of my favourite tracks on “Lylac” – there’s a certain melancholy charm to it, whilst it sounds like the happiest song on earth. Somehow the marriage of the vocals and the music just lifts it somewhere else – Melissa could be singing the most miserable song you’ve ever heard and you’d not realise it. “A Way To Emerge” has xylophone! Xylophone is a most overlooked instrument, if you ask me, but in this track it seems to be the basis for the entire melody, with a slight beat layered over the top and continuing beautiful vocals. There are also pure instrumental tracks to break up the album, and a track entirely in Portuguese, in the form of “Do Outro Lado Do Espelho”; and no, you don’t need to understand the language to get anything out of it.
“Lylac” is very much recommended to those with a taste for electronica or pop music with a twist – pop music doesn’t have to be the cheesy stuff you find on the charts; sometimes you get albums like this, filled with melodies, rhythms and vocals, that uplifts, inspires and somehow restores a little faith that music can still surprise you and still give you something new. Sweet, soothing and intoxicating… and now I’m starting to run out of descriptives! Buy it and see what I mean for yourself.
— Kate Turgoose