Chilean indie music darling Dadalú makes everything she touches seem cooler. Cheesy electro-funk synth lines? Smooth jazz solos? Slightly creepy animal hats? She turns them all to gold. Though, of course, her talented backing band Los Pat Smear contributes a lot to this alchemy.
Like US’s The Blow she’s at her best when bringing indie-pop simplicity to R&B and electro. Unlike The Blow, Dadalú can rap. Her other closest musical cousins are freespirited Colombian songwriter Lido Pimienta and maybe ’90s food-obsessed Japanese duo Cibo Matto. But now that I’ve heard the old-school hip hop inspired single “No Sé Empezar,” I want to see her go on tour opening for her rhyming countrywoman Ana Tijoux.
On her recently released debut album Periodo, the hip hop influence is very strong — though she makes plenty of time for jazz, new wave, and everything else she loves — and she sings and freestyles with unique style and an exuberance that’s rare and wonderful. The lyrics are thoughtful and personal and Periodo makes a surprisingly strong and coherent musical statement for an album from an artist with such eclectic influences.
You see Dadalú is only the solo incarnation of Daniela Saldías. And, compared to the exploratory nature of her many collaborations and past bands, it’s actually quite restrained. Her other projects have involved rapping, ska, indie rock, electro, and stand-up comedy. Knowing that, Periodo seems like a refined distillation of a small portion of her musical experiences and distillations. There’s enough interesting material on this debut to keep us dancing for awhile, but it also whets the appetite for her next distillation.
If we had you at “cheesy electro-funk synth lines,” Periodo is available as free download on her website.
Photo Courtesy of Dadalu