Release Date: Feb 18, 2014
Record label: Bar/None Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Brimming with independent spirit and worldly charm, Sabina Sciubba's debut LP Toujours is a wonderful mish-mash of '60s French pop, Latin traditions, and adventurous indie pop. Best known for her work with genre-hopping New York dance-pop group Brazilian Girls, Sabina took the band's 2009 hiatus as an opportunity to work unencumbered on a set of more personal and stripped-down songs that would comprise her first solo effort. Working with longtime Brazilian Girls' producer Frederik Rubens, the album was largely recorded at the singer's home in Paris and exhibits the sort of relaxed, homespun experimentation that comes from working in an uninhibited, creative environment.
Like Eurodisco legend Giorgio Moroder, Sabina Sciubba was born in Italy and grew up in Germany, but for her first solo outing she’s eschewed the electropop of her New York-based Brazilian Girls troupe to record a more lilting, guitar-based, Nico-esque collection in Paris, where she now resides. Confused? You will be. Everything about ‘Toujours’ (‘always’ in French) has an international flavour, and it’s sung in no less than six languages.
As your resident luddite who only has a (debatably) firm grasp on the English language, I was somewhat apprehensive taking on the penta-lingual Sabina Sciubba’s debut album. The half-German, half-Italian, Paris-based singer of New York electro-dance trio Brazilian Girls has struck out on her own with debut album Toujours (which means ‘always’, as I have recently learnt). Toujours has the confident, well-established sound of an artist on her fifth, rather than first album.
Sabina Sciubba is a goddess. As the Brazilian Girls’ frontwoman, she descends — long legs, chestnut hair, the smile of Aphrodite — and triggers fantasies amid the swirl of a brilliant band. She dances with the crowd; she’s said she’d like to play a show “that inspires so much love that everybody in the audience starts making out.” But she must have wanted a little solo time.
Sabina Sciubba, the lead singer for Brazilian Girls, sets aside her last name and switches production style but not persona on her solo debut album, “Toujours.” She’s still the nonchalant, elusive, sophisticated and resolutely hedonistic figure she plays in Brazilian Girls songs. And Sabina, who was born in Rome to a German mother and an Italian father, still switches among the multiple languages of her upbringing — Italian, German, French, English — in not quite simultaneous translations. But on “Toujours,” she often trades Brazilian Girls’ international party beats, electronics and retro lounge orchestrations for music that looks toward garage rock and new wave, keeping the sound leaner.