Consumer Guide Album
Ambitious Lovers: Greed [Virgin, 1988]
Guess the title's because this is more commercial than Envy, which I guess Arto called that because he was insecure about playing funk and samba. Well, he's not insecure any more. With Peter Scherer melding Brazil and the Black Rock Coalition into a spectrum of astonishing bands, he's sitting on top of one of the sharpest, coolest, bestest funk or samba records ever made--funk as light and samba as pop as the Michaels McDonald or Franks could hope for, only all fused and fucked with. Moments of guitar anarchy (from Vernon Reid or Bill Frisell when chops are called for, from Arto when Arto is) add a New York edge to the tropico hedonism, and there's a consciously childlike playfulness to Arto's vocal technique that's a hemisphere away from the sun-dazed romantic insouciance of his Lusophone mentors. Which certainly isn't to say he lacks insouciance--the bespectacled sometime skronkmaster is as sexy as George Michael when he wants to be, which on these postpostmodern love songs he does. Wonder what Lust will sound like.