thesoundscapesfreestylefamily250The Soundscapes are two brothers originally from Brazil but they fought through all the samba music, flamenco dancers and other such stereotypes to settle in the effortless indie-rock cool of New York City. Raphael Carvalho takes his place behind the drums, whilst his brother Rodrigo takes up vocal and guitar duties, which are roles they've had since they were young so you'd expect them to be pretty tight now they've matured into adults. Well it certainly isn't the playing that's the problem with Freestyle Family, it's the stunning lack of variety in the songs, you'd be forgiven for not knowing where one song finished and the next began. The opening two tracks 'Here's When' and 'Tides of Time' are far too similar to sit next to each other anywhere on the album let alone be the first two tracks. I'd forgive them slightly if their sound was interesting and new but for the most part it borders on a rather bland shoegazing style. They do have a nice ethereal summery quality to them though, which would get a lot of play on American College radio but Rodrigo's vocals, although pleasant enough, are relatively one-paced throughout and lacking in any real passion so you struggle to make a connection with him.There a few upsides to this album however, 'She's Gone' has a nice summery feel and a bouncy guitar that will get you jumping and dancing like a madman, 'High Noon in the Nuclear Era' has an interesting groove to it but it is the closer 'Nothing Too Late', which is the best track by far as the relentless driving drums are accompanied by a pondering guitar in long intros and outros, taking on a new feel to the rest of the album. Even Rodrigo is straining his vocal slightly making it more believable.Freestyle Family is not a bad album by any stretch; it is just very very average. The Carvalho are clearly talented musicians in their own right but they need something extra to help them create an album that stands out and begs to be heard. Perhaps after a few more years in New York they'll pick up some tips and be back with a follow up that blows this effort out of the water and you know, with a bit of work, they may just do it.50%The Soundscapes on Myspace