Bonde Do Role is an out-of-control, high-octane party. The Diplo-discovered and CSS-approved Brazilian trio plays its own take on baile funk, equal parts Miami bass and hyperactive, distorted melodies sung in barely legible Portuguese gay slang. With Lasers is immediately likable, rowdy, rambunctious, and straight to the point. Like any good party, the energy level is near explosive and the accelerator is stomped clear to the floor, never allowing a moment’s rest.
For a band built primarily around playfulness and an over-the-top presence, the members — Marina Vello, who previously went by Marina Ribatski but now uses her mother’s surname on stage; Pedro D’eyrot; and Rodrigo Gorky — gain musical credibility by establishing a solid musical foundation. The hiccupping synth of “Solta O Frango,” the vocoder-layered beat of “Marina Do Bairro,” and the kazoo flourishes of “Geremia” give Bonde Do Role a bit of separation from the typically structured baile funk compositions (bass, samples, shouting) littered throughout With Lasers. Vello shrieks, squeals, scats, and moans her way through the album, defining its wild, playful party vibe. With Lasers is hers to color, and she is dynamic enough to make it bright, inviting and pleasurable.
But this party is still too one-dimensional. After a few runs through, it’s evident the band has no choice but to operate at the highest speed possible. The tricks become evident, and there’s not much left to draw us back. After all, this is social music, and it makes less sense out of that context. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — Bonde Do Role (pronounced bonjay du hole-ay, by the way) has succeeded in what it set out to accomplish — but the audience’s expectation will likely differ from the members’, and that often leads to some disappointment.