One of the major "BRock" groups of the 1980s and '90s, Capital Inicial mixed hard rock with New Wave, and came up with one of the most unapologetically commercial sounds in the Brazilian rock scene. I'm not their biggest fan, but here's a look at some of their work...
Capital Inicial "Capital Inicial" (Polydor, 1986)
Although they'd been around for several years and released a few singles before '86, this was the first full album by this Brasilia-based band, and is pretty impressive in its own way... An unflagging, aggressively uptempo mix of punkish, anthemic hard rock and warbly New Wave, it doesn't actually hold up that well over the years, but for the rock-hungry youth of Brazil in the early MTV era, this mix of U2, The Clash and The Cure was probably a real breath of fresh air. It's monotonous, but pretty solid for the style.
Capital Inicial "Independencia" (Polydor, 1987)
By their second album, the band had shed most of their vestigal Gothiness, as well as their punk-aggro edge... This is slick, fake-new wave '80s pop, with a slight hint of Bryan Adams-ish rocker-dude blandness, and lots of drum-machine-y technical gimmickry, much in keeping with the North American pop scene of the time. I hate this kind of music. It's awful.
Capital Inicial "Voce Nao Precisa Entender" (Polydor, 1988)
(Produced by Marcelo Sussekind)
Bigger, more bombastic and more mainstream. They sound just like Depeche Mode on this album... And I don't mean that as a compliment. Bleahh. It's horrible.
Capital Inicial "Todos Os Lados" (Polydor, 1989)
They kind of redeem themselves here, in a sense, through the increased density and complexity of the production, and the reintroduction of an aggressive edge to their music. But at heart this is super-fake, prefab pop-rock -- very corporate and very dull, with every high-tech gimmick they can think of thrown into the mix to make it seem exciting and energetic. Doesn't work for me. It sounds like a Brazilian version of Tin Machine or The Firm, one of those overcooked studio efforts that renders rock music lifeless and inert. It's just painful to listen to. Skip it.
Capital Inicial "Eletricidade" (BMG, 1991)
Capital Inicial "Rua 47" (Q Records, 1995)
Capital Inicial "Ao Vivo" (RB Records, 1996)
Capital Inicial "Atras Dos Olhos" (Abril, 1998)
A much broader pop palette is in play here than on their early albums... It's still very commerical, but there are wisps of sensitive singer-songwriter rock, as well as modern electronica, and a far less aggro sound overall. This is certainly more textured and varied, and is worth checking out, even though in many regards it's still the same old, same old -- safe, mainstream "alternative" rock, with very little there to surprise you.
Capital Inicial "Rosas E Vinho Tinto" (Abril, 2002)
Capital Inicial "Acustico MTV" (Abril Music, 2000)
Like most of the American and British bands that do the MTV unplugged schtick, these Brazilian alterna-rockers take a few liberties with the whole idea of an "acoustic" performance, but overall this is a very nice record. Sure, they sound just like other non-Brazilian bands, only singing in Portuguese, but what's wrong with that? I guess if I listened to more commercial radio here in the States, I'd have more groups I could compare these guys to -- as it is, I guess I'd just say this is a pretty mellow, listenable disc, pretty much in an "indie," power-ballady, soft-rock vein, and it's worth checking out.
Capital Inicial "Gigante!" (BMG, 2004)
Capital Inicial "Aborto Eletrico" (BMG, 2005)
Capital Inicial "Multishow Ao Vivo" (Sony-BMG, 2009)
Capital Inicial "O Melhor De Capital Inicial" (Universal, 1998)
Capital Inicial "Capital Inicial (Box Set)" (Abril, 2002)
A 4-CD set that collects their first four albums, Capital Inicial, from 1986, 1987's Independencia 1988's Voce Nao Precisa Entender and Todos Os Lados, from 1989. All four records are reviewed above.
Capital Inicial "Serie Millennium" (Universal, 2002)
Capital Inicial "Serie Sem Limite" (Universal, 2002)
Capital Inicial "Maxximum" (Sony-BMG, 2005)
Capital Inicial "Aborto Eletrico" (DVD) (BMG, 2005)
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