Graham Reid | | 1 min read
This isn't quite the same Os Mutantes that was one of the seminal bands in the Brazilian tropicalia rcok'n'roll revolutionary movement of the late Sixties (members departed, the band broke up in the late Seventies) but it is a pretty good facsimile, and does include founder member Sergio Dias who here collaborates with the great Tom Ze and hauls in a hot young band.
The original Os Mutantes fired off in all directions -- rock, prog-rock, traditional sounds, bits which sound like they were ripped from soundtracks and so on -- and this does much the same: it is as unpredictable as a Frank Zappa album, has a mad energy about it (like some nutty soundtrack to a crazy cartoon, or a rock'n'roll Spike Jones) and generally offers some rather bewildering listening.
By the time you get to the fourth piece you've probably heard what you think were about 10 different songs. The politics, such as it is here, is hardly to be taken seriously however: Baghdad Blues seems rather happier making wordplay jokes about Ali Baba and Mohamed (Ali), and you might find as much serious intent in the samba parody O Careca (Baldy).
However it's hard not to get swept up in the schizo-energy and they offer some punctuations of pop-relief along the way (the chiming guitars of O Mensageiro/The Messenger which sounds like a lost, Sixties song and the lightly floating Anagram).
This is apparently the first Os Mutantes album in about 35 years and while it doesn't match the mad, liberating sound of their first incarnation in enough places they confirm that their original blueprint was sound -- and when they use it again this is a genuinely surprising album which will keep you on your toes. If not knock you on your ear.