If you’re fed up with the in-your-face, cliched rock, the disaffected and aloof indie, and the shallow, identikit pop that’s drowning the mainstream these days, well, hold on tight, Rita Braga’s got the antidote. She’s serving up something with depth, integrity, and originality, all wrapped in some of the most soulful, soothing, yet leftfield and inventive sounds you’ve ever encountered. Rita’s a force to be reckoned with, a prolific artist with a a host of releases and live performances to her name. It’s no wonder she’s a revered figure in the Portuguese music scene.
And, like any true creative soul worth their salt, trying to pigeonhole Rita’s music is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. She’s a sonic shapeshifter, blending, bending, and fusing everything from dream-pop vibes to neo-soul musings, bubbling electronica to frenetic dance beats, jazz-infused vocals, and noir-pop atmospherics.
It’s not just the music that covers a lot of ground. Her lyrical musings and narratives are just as potent and thought-provoking. Take “Radio Pardel,” for instance. It delves into the double-edged sword of modern technology, from phone apps to YouTube obsessions, all set to a relentless, anticipatory beat, with squalling brass adding to the mix. “Nothing Came From Nowhere” ventures into the dark and delicious, with a touch of spacious gothic vibes, while “Ikea Snow” weaves a tale of living in the shadow of climate disaster, a creepy and clever fusion of vaudeville sounds and time-travel tales.
You see, it takes an artist who’s thinking outside the box, marching to the beat of their own drum, to create music that’s truly one-of-a-kind. And yet, Rita Braga still manages to provide enough familiar sonic stepping stones to guide you safely through their sonic labyrinth. Rita Braga’s music is strange, sometimes disconcerting, but always brimming with musical oases where newcomers can find comfort, take a breather, and soak it all in before moving on to the next captivating challenge. That, my friends, is the brilliance of “Illegal Planet,” and indeed, the brilliance of Rita Braga.