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Rádio Pirata (Ao Vivo)

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Album Review

With their radio-friendly tunes and a frontman (vocalist/bassist Paulo Ricardo) who looked like a member of Menudo — only cuter — RPM became one of Brazilian rock's first breakout superstars, and 1986's live hit-fest Radio Pirata documented the very apex of their massive but mercurial success. Not that their lyrics or music ever stooped so low as boy band pop fodder, boasting instead an unexpectedly thoughtful array of subjects matched to a sparkling blend of synth-laden '80s rock — part new romantic, part progressive rock. Yes, progressive rock, but of the latter-day, diluted variety made popular by post-Peter Gabriel Genesis and especially mid-'80s Marillion — both of which had an obvious influence on RPM's older (and suitably nerdy) keyboardist and chief songwriter Luiz Schiavon. Always composed in partnership with Ricardo, choice tracks like the mildly political "Revoluções por Minuto," the surprisingly apocalyptic "Alvorada Voraz," and the astoundingly cynical "Estação no Inferno" (containing some sharp, metallic licks from guitarist Fernando Deluqui) would surely have flown right over their screaming fans' pretty little heads, had they actually paid attention, closed their eyes, or shut down their hormones for just a second. The shrewd singer wouldn't let them, though, masking "A Cruz e a Espada"'s desolate disaffection and "Olhar 43"'s shameless techno-teasing with a forcedly effete, teen idol delivery; then quoting everyone from Sting (for "Flores Astrais"' "Yeh-Yoh" singalongs) and Jim Morrison (for the title cut's "Light My Fire" refrain) in order to heighten his messianic station in the eyes of his enraptured audience. Rounding out the album's contents are the instrumental elevator music exercise "Naja," and a cover of Caetano Veloso's "London, London," which RPM transform — through the magic of '80s production values — from a desperate political exile's lament to a foreign exchange student's homesick musing. Drummer P.A. Pagni's at times suspiciously electronic drums lead to inevitable questions about just how "live" Radio Pirata really was, but then that's the case with most every live album, and has very little relevance on such a processed piece of product such as this anyway. The album remains one of the era's best sellers but, ironically, RPM's career would age as quickly as their audience, fading towards obscurity just a few years later.


Formed: 1983

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

RPM was one of the most important groups in Brazilian pop/rock of the '80s. In 1983, bassist/vocalist/composer Paulo Ricardo (Paulo Ricardo Oliveira Nery de Medeiros, Rio de Janeiro RJ, b. 1962) joined Luiz Schiavon (Luís Antônio Schiavon Pereira, São Paulo SP, b. 1958), a friend since 1977 and bandmate of the stillborn Aura. The two of them teamed up to form a duo in the Eurythmics style. They recorded a demo tape with future hits like "Olhar 43," "Revoluções por Minuto," and "A Cruz e a Espada,"...
Full bio
Rádio Pirata (Ao Vivo), RPM
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