Review: Satanique Samba Trio – Mais Bad (Rebel Up!, Sep 13)

Satanique Samba Trio (hereafter SST) might have the most confusing band name ever; though their unique, eclectic style is undoubtedly indebted to to classic Brazilian samba, it’s also often cheerful and whimsical and not at all Satanic, and the band is actually a quintet, not a trio. But SST don’t seem to take themselves at all seriously, so their oxymoronic moniker is fittingly subversive, complementary to their “thirst for aesthetical [sic] deconstruction.” The ten miniatures that comprise the band’s new 10″ release, Mais Bad, are simply titled with the heading “Badtriptronics” and then a (seemingly arbitrary) number, but again, despite the obvious surreal psychedelia influences present, the music is nowhere near as negatively inclined as the names would imply. Recorded using a “cheap cell phone from the early 2000’s” for maximum lo-fi effect, bouncing samba rhythms underlie intricate, colorful arrangements, cacophonic mixing, quirky electronics, chunks of distortion, and formless freakouts that border on complete improvisation. Despite the band’s promise that the album is “meant to sound desperate, harsh and absolutely surreal,” the abstract free-music density and punk mentality do the opposite of suppressing the naturally invigorating, positive energy behind this musical tradition; instead, Mais Bad ends up being some of the most rollickingly fun music I’ve heard in a long time.