It's been a long way since now 19 year-old Mallu Magalhães went online and self-released her rustic, soft folk ep. From that time, she's released two albums (third one is coming out on the18th), appeared in dozens of tv shows, sealed a deal with a major phone company and played a whole bunch of gigs. Yes, that aging, experience, road miles and time are completely noticeable in her latest work.
Pitanga, the new record, is a canvas mainly painted with how she sees and deals with things nowadays, yet watermarked by a couple of tunes which reminds us where she came from. It ranges from safe plays with popular music alongside brooklyn-esque mellow indie folk, placing her in a parallel universe between the hall of new generation of brazilian female performers and alt-rock youngsters.
Perhaps due to her steady relationship with songwriter supreme Marcelo Camelo, there's a major brazilian popular music influence to the album. Tracks such as "Sambinha Bom", "Velha E Louca", "Ô, Ana" and "Por Que Você Faz Assim Comigo" state firmly to that claim( the latter arguably resembling some of her significant other's work with Los Hermanos). And, for that matter, it might just well be her finest suit. Blending that regarded as classic with multi-instrumented modern simplicity is no man-on-the-moon sort of news, but Mallu has her way with it and so far it's been working out quite properly. However, the light folk/soft-country pieces such as "Youhuhu" and "Baby, I'm Sure" are clearly the high points on this effort. No place like home, is it?
A true challenge any artist must come to terms with is not falling into oblivion at some point, especially the young ones. Mallu dives that fate quietly though most definitely strongly. Might that be caused by her early exposure to Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, who's to tell? Fact is Pitanga brings a balanced, intimate work showing that Mallu grew tall while reaching for the sky but made sure to keep both feet planted on the ground. Overall, a solid record by a - finally - solid artist.