Serapicos – Serapicos Is A TownSan Paolo, Brazil native Gabriel Serapicos claims Portuguese as his native language, but chooses to sing in English to feel more connected to the spirits of rock and roll. This connection is at times raw and comically out of synch at times on his debut album, Serapicos Is A Town, but they playful heart of the album is ultimately its redeeming factor.
2012, Gabriel Serapicos
2012, Gabriel Serapicos
Serapicos gets things rolling with the message, incessant garage rock of “There Is No Satisfaction”. This retro-post-modern answer to the Rolling Stones is built more from a bemused observationalism than any real sense of angst or disappointment. You can almost picture the knowing smirk Serapicos is hiding as he sings. “Blow Me” features the same sort of self-satisfied frat boy smugness and fails to be allegorical in any way. It’s an entertaining look into the barely post-adolescent male mind with quasi 1970’s Lloyd-Webber flair. The band comes back to Earth with fairly mundane numbers such as “Artists Are Crazy” and the shambling “Pee Pee Jazz”.With “Lucky Numbers”, Serapicos descend into a troubled They Might Be Giants parallel universe where bright airy melodies and whimsical story songs have been replaced by dark, minor key explorations and Smith’s inspired tales of woe. Jumping into a sound once used by Jan and Dean, Serapicos get completed retro on “Inspire Me”. This fun rocker will get your feet moving, and the messy garage style of play creates a fun environment. Things roll back downhill for “The Sexiest Girl In The World”. This amounts to a teen boy drooling over a girl in song without any sense of art or tact. That being said, there is an elemental cuteness to the song. “Balloon” finds Serapicos practicing a bit more tact in their wooing techniques, but not much. The vocal is enough to sink this one, as Serapicos has only a passing relationship with the key.
“The Egg Song” is a catchy little piece of post-pop fluff that one presumes is ironic. The song is very entertaining, with a frenetic energy that’s impossible to ignore. This is one tune where it’s best not to think too much about what you’re listening to. “When Your Husband’s Away” is banal and droning; a difficult listen at best. "I Just Want To Be Your Friend" has a Doors style groove, but fails on pedantic and repetitive lyrics. "Love Pills" and "Russian Roulettes and Persian Carpets" are equally mundane, although the latter captures a bit of that They Might Be Giants air found earlier on the album. "Sexy Julia" is an unsubtle yet entertaining ode to an object of affection/desire. There is an abstract musicality encompassed in the catchy rock arrangement, and the song is danceable in spite of its slightly messy presentation. Serapicos says goodnight with the title track, a stumbling and inexplicably sad number that is messily thrown together and performed without conviction.Going it alone on a first recording can be wonderfully freeing as an artist. It also leaves those who create exposed by the weakness of their own worse natures. There is a clear influence of 1960’s rock and roll on Serapicos Is A Town, and the utter joy that emanates from music of that era is evident. Serapicos even manages to create some of the same manic glee, both lyrically and musically, that drove the best of They Might Be Giants’ work. At the same time, Serapicos struggles against his own sense of cuteness, crossing over at times into wildly banal or even downright unlistenable moments. There is a lot of good to be mined from Serapicos Is A Town. A first class producer could reign in Serapicos’ more self-immolating songwriting tendencies and help him find the pure pop gems he seeks here.
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more at www.serapicosisatown.com.