Universo are a band from Brazil consisting of composer and multi instrumentalist (guitar, keyboard, bass, drums, piano) Leo Bor and vocalist Meika. Their first album, Universo, was given the Best Independent Band award by an American music publication, and they have accrued a sizeable fan base through social media from all parts of the world. This E.P. consists of seven tracks and was also produced by Leo Bor.
The first song is the title track of the E.P. and introduces the listener to the Universo sound, which I would describe as epic pop/rock. The music is strongly melodic, melding powerful guitars and flourishes of piano with a punchy drum sound. Meika’s distinctive, expressive vocals suit the music perfectly and Nova Vida is an excellent start to the E.P., making good use of dynamics and featuring a memorable chorus.
Second track Vou Vencer has a similar quiet/loud dynamic, again with a strong chorus making good use of vocal harmony. This song also features an epic sounding yet understated guitar solo, which lifts the music at just the right moment.
Next comes Meu Lindo Paraiso, the first ballad of the E.P. which features a beautiful, lilting vocal melody and acts as a nice contrast to the first couples of songs. Fourth track Eternamente starts like another ballad but then launches into a colossal chorus, with Meika giving an amazing vocal performance. The drama and emotion in the music is heightened by swelling, rising strings and unexpected chord changes that increase the harmonic tension. This was my personal favourite of the seven tracks.
After this comes Alguem Quer, another ballad with a beautiful piano part that entwines perfectly with the vocal melody. I loved how the vocals overlapped in places on this one. Sixth track Eu Quero Voce is another solid song though not a standout, but last track Possivel is a superb close to the E.P. It begins with a three-note piano figure before developing into one of the rockier tracks, with meaty electric guitars creating a formidable wall of sound. It contains one of the strongest choruses and would make a good choice for a single.
Overall, this is an excellent E.P. featuring consistently strong songwriting, with highly accomplished instrumental and vocal performances. I think Universo have a very bright future, and someone like Shakira shows that a Latin American artist singing in her native language can go on to become a global success.
Verdict: 8.6 out of 10