Brazilian Girls’s Let’s Make Love does more than simply advocate for the therapeutic benefits of a robust sex life. The alternative dance quartet’s first album in a decade also suggests that we all simply need to get more rest. Though frontwoman Sabina Sciubba complained about her unquenched desire due to a sleepy romantic partner on 2005’s “Lazy Lover,” she describes Let’s Make Love as a newfound endorsement of the notion that that “we should all sleep more and sleep more together.”
But this emphasis on the benefits of slumber doesn’t result in downtempo music. In fact, the album shifts away from the moody lounge aesthetic that Brazilian Girls established in their early work. Leaning heavily on new wave and synth-pop, the band borrows liberally from their musical influences throughout. “Wild Wild Web” feels like a 21st-century update of Talking Heads’s “Once in a Lifetime,” as Sciubba’s clipped delivery about distracted, social media-dependent millennials mirrors David Byrne’s critique of half-awake yuppies, and she adopts a Lene Lovich-like cadence on “The Critic,” a song about how reading bad reviews can ruin her lazy Sunday mornings.
While Let’s Make Love‘s more singular focus on 1980s electronic music results in less experimentation than on 2008’s New York City, it nevertheless taps into that album’s metropolitan and international flavor. The Italian-born Sciubba deftly shifts between English and Italian amid the infectious electro swing of “Balla Balla,” while the reggae-tinged “Salve” is sung entirely in Spanish. The former track combines elements of 1940s-era ballroom music with modern electronic effects in a rare diversion from the album’s overall ‘80s aesthetic.
Let’s Make Love reaffirms Brazilian Girls’s penchant for imagery of bustling streets, crowded cafés, and the buzz of cities in perpetual motion. On “Karaköy,” Sciubba recounts the vivid sights and sounds of a busy Istanbul street as she walks toward a ship that will transport her to her next destination, while on “Go Out More Often,” she evokes impressionist flashes of warm wind, trembling sidewalks and people laughing under the light of the moon. As she sings “let’s get lost,” she returns to a theme of immersing oneself fully into life’s experiences, whether that be a dream, a thrumming cityscape, a dynamic conversation, or uninhibited sex.
And yet for all of the propulsive thrust on display throughout Let’s Make Love, the band yearns for those quiet, restorative moments. Sciubba takes a contemplative tone in examining a failed relationship on “We Stopped,” singing about a love affair being “too much, too fast.” She sounds exasperated by a money-obsessed society in “Impromptu,” decrying the stifling nature of cubicle culture (“A wall is your horizon/Wall Street’s your purgatory”) before going a step further and arguing that “paradise is a pile of ashes.”
Let’s Make Love‘s more thoughtful and nuanced take on sex as self-care counters Brazilian Girls’s calls for unrelenting pleasure-seeking on songs like “Don’t Stop” and “Pussy” (both from their 2005 self-titled debut). The band argues that maintaining the passion and strength to fully engage with the world occasionally requires withdrawing from it.