JORGE DREXLER | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Winning a best-song Oscar--for "Al Otra Lado del Rio," from The Motorcycle Diaries, in 2005--doesn't seem to have convinced this Uruguayan pop singer and songwriter that he ought to start playing to a bigger crowd. The terrific new 12 Segundos de Oscuridad (Warner Latina) retains all the hooky intimacy of its predecessors: Drexler's sweet voice rarely rises above a conversational volume, as if he's relating his tales of failed love and fervent desire from across a kitchen table. This wonderfully personal feel pervades the arrangements, which are packed with rich details--a tactile synthesizer sniggle, an underwater electronic beat--and the instrumental sections sustain the vocals' flow with gorgeous countermelodies. Among the originals is "Disneylandia," a biting take on globalization by Brazil's Arnaldo Antunes; elsewhere another Brazilian, Maria Rita (who covered a Drexler tune on her last album), appears for a duet. Besides a version of Radiohead's "High and Dry," the whole album is sung in Spanish; it'd be a shame if this kept Drexler from transcending his movie-trivia status in the States. a 8:30 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $25.

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