The 28 year old from Lisbon won the competition last year in Ukraine, marking Portugal’s 1st victory in like, forever…seriously…they’d never won it in 53 years, and he did so using a song his sister wrote called “Amar Pelos Dois”, setting a new points record (Having said that they keep meddling with the voting so expect this year’s winner to have like, a million points)…I went to check to see what he had released since his historic victory, only to find that he’d released…a live album. That’s it. Live versions of now two year old songs…so…with that said, let’s go back to 2016 shall we, where we actually have an album to go through…this is “Excuse Me”…and mate, I’ll judge if you’re to be excused or not…
We open up with that very title track and what is actually pleasant is the fact we find Salvador singing in English, swapping out his native tongue…musically it’s a quaint little piano ballad combined with soft jazz-lounge qualities, aided by the cushioned, slightly hushed, slightly husky vocals; in ways you could say he was Portugal’s answer to JAMIE CULLUM on the basis of this track; an innocent start this. Follow up “Nada Que Esperar” continues with the soothing jazz tones of the piano / double bass combination, and given it’s rough translation of ‘Nothing To Hope For’ you can feel the sadness in the performance, the acceptance of life’s situations per se and it’s very mellifluous in its own meager way.
The majority of the record flows at a steady and reliable pace, rarely diverting from its jazz-based roots, it’s a very easy-listening record really, the kind of album you’d find yourself putting on after a long day at work, sat and listened to with a glass of red with your feet up, and this is backed up by tracks like “Ready For Love Again”; with its delicately tickled piano and caressing, harmonious string sections, it’s a lulling album highlight. Speaking of lulling we have “I Might Just Stay Away” which at just over 6-minutes is the longest track here, and really emphasizes those lullaby-esque characteristics, sounding like the kind of gentle music that would come from a little girls jewelry box. The real highlights however come courtesy of “After You’ve Gone”, which is a short, up-beat quirky piece of jazz which was originally written in 1918 and has been performed by everyone from the aforementioned Cullem, to the late JUDY GARLAND, and “Autumn In New York”, which was made famous in 1949 by Ol’ Blue Eyes himself; FRANK SINATRA.
Overall I have to be honest, as far as Eurovision winners go, compared to some, I did find Salvador’s entry pretty damn dull last year and was surprised when he won (Although he got a sympathy vote through prior heart surgery and played sneaky political games with his refugees shirt) but going back to this previous album, I’ll admit he is capable of better things. Granted, this is a lot more relaxed than my usual tastes but it’s a decent modern jazz record with enough throwback appeal to keep fans satisfied. I will excuse you…JUST about.