Album Review: Fogo Fogo – s/t [Fogo Fogo, 3rd February 2016]


Fogo Fogo’s self-titled debut EP accelerates a listener’s heart and one’s life with it: imposing an unforgettable experience, either through a simple listen or a dance and a listen. There is a rustic, organic feeling to the music, as if the music of a group of young men in the service of the god Pan, son of Hermes, god of the wild. Fogo Fogo almost forces one to wade in what feels like the opposite of cement, steel, and glass civilization, because of the texture of the acerbic and fast-tempo of its instrumentation rhythm section.

The EP jumps straight into exuberance with its first song “Si Propi” that starts out as stripped-down instrumentation, but quickly moves to being layered celebration and chant.

“Sentimento” is the EP’s second song, and though it is exuberant there seems to be a melodramatic narrative to it; a reason to contemplate or reflect. The singing is raw and adds honesty in a love song to a time of millions of electronic, synthetic-feeling, android love songs. There’s a certain simplicity to the song’s lyrics that makes it feel like a lovely plunge, that is atypical when compared to the image of the postmodern male, who is able to live with a broken heart and live on. That simplicity is what is most swooning about the song, despite the “heat” that rhythm section delivers.

M’Bem Di Fora” is this work’s highlight because of how well-constructed it is. It flows forth, like a river. The singing complements the playing well in what is a song with great prosody: the structure of the text being sung, how each line is sung, is unexpected. This is postmodernity for being well-dressed on a night out with friends, letting one go to one’s immediate future. This is elegance. This song’s rhythm, however, is not as exciting as some of the art brut in the rhythm of this EP’s other songs. If you are in the market for elegant feeling, however, this song is perfect to dress down on a rooftop and let go.

What Fogo Fogo is great at doing is producing exuberance and celebration that feels organic to a listener. It is as if the work of a group with a conviction to never produce “glam” or “spectacle”. We humans have a long history of celebrating through work songs, fertility songs, etc, and despite pop’s popularity, the demand for organic, wild, exuberance will always exist. This EP is a tool for that sort of existence; wild, natural, humour that our cultures naturally covet – appealing to all, despite the fact some will not understand the language of its lyrics.

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