The Manhattan Transfer, Brasil

The Transfer's, uh, transfer of Brazilian rhythms wallpapered with their own special brand of lyrics ("We always save some art nouveau / for special patrons") makes for one of the most unique albums of 1987. The synthesizers haven't aged so well, but the music is peppy, the vocals are always outstanding, and impressively even the political pieces are even-handed and earnest (especially "The Jungle Pioneer," which could have been an environmentalist bludgeoning but instead is a fair analysis of ecology versus economic progress, though "Metropolis"' assault on crumbling urbanization lays it on a little thick). Besides "The Jungle Pioneer," my personal favourite for its sophistication, other great gems are "Soul Food To Go," its saucy, simmery lead-off track, and the gently lyrical "Agua." Including the original Brazilian Portuguese song titles is a nice touch, one of many on this 80's jazz classic. (Content: no concerns.)