Nuno Mindelis may hail from Brazil, but he's imported the American blues / rhythm 'n blues / soul sound rather impressively, and it's difficult to decide precisely where to pigeonhole Angels & Clowns. The title cut, as may be intimated by half its very name, wraps warmly around Hendrix, borrowing heavily from Angel and it's "Fly on my sweet angel" melodies, borrowing a cartload of Jimi's riffs. The sound, too, is vintage, as Duke Robillard produced the CD while using analog basic tracks, old school mikes, and tube driven gear, getting that familiar old warm sound and vibe. As with all Robillard and Shining Stone work, the ambience is period, a "Hey, d'ya'member what things USED to be like?" kind of exercise in keeping modern electronica at bay.
Mindelis' guitar work—he favors a cherry-red Schecter Telecaster but also employs a Strat and SG—is clean and melodic, enhancing the R&B element significantly while reflecting that 60s on-the-edge-of-psychedelia side flow that so many blues cats dig, gaining an outside the box edge that Guy, King, Collins, and so many cutting edge black masters developed…and that Jimi blew the doors off of. Bruce Bears adds appreciably to the atmospherics with his organ and keyboard, and the ever reliable Mark Teixeira throws in a roomful of his patented drumwork, Brad Hallen taking up the bass. Da Duke plays rhythm guitar on two cuts and lead in one, but I was really happy to hear Sunny Crownover's backing vocals…on just one cut, dammit!
But speaking of vocals, Midelis' voice is not the best vehicle for his music, a little too untrained, too blasé, too disaffected even if you're in the mood for mellow indifference, 27th Day perhaps the weakest exposition. He'd be best served by next time hiring a singer to tackle his lyrics—or rather: his songs' lyrics, as Mindelis doesn't write 'em—a move I'm thinking would also galvanize the guitarwork to the next level. But yeah…man, that guitar! Clean as clean can be, modulated with sweet intonations, as soothing as the moon coming up in a night sky, and then smoothly searing when the occasion calls for it. Nuno ain't a young dawg no mo', but that don't mean he hasn't a heck of a future still ahead of him.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles