Tonight @ the EchoPlex - The Incredible Brazilian Psych-Pop Band Os Mutantes

Os Mutantes

The music made by Brazilian psych-pop band Os Mutantes in the late 1960s and early 70s is panic at its most colorful. Put on a song from one of their early albums, listen for five seconds, skip ahead 30, and you're likely to hear vastly different moods. Their 1999 retrospective was called Everything Is Possible! because, I guess, they actually believed it was, and all within the confines of three minutes: garage-rock boogie squirming under wailed Portuguese, bossa nova torn apart by homemade effects pedals, musical theater, sound effects, and the most unencumbered goofiness this side of first grade.

It doesn't hurt that they founded the group as teenagers and that two of the group's main members, Arnaldo Baptista and Rita Lee, were compulsive acid-eaters (a ritual that likely precipitated Arnaldo's appearances at mental hospitals throughout the 70s). When they were upbeat, they sounded manic; when they were slothful or stoned, they sounded suicidal. (Arnaldo did, eventually, jump out a window. Improbably, he lived.) Noting their extremity isn't to overemphasize an underbelly in their music-- consider it "romantic," if that seems less grisly-- but to acknowledge a delirium in their sound that distinguished them from both American psych-pop bands and the musicians working in Brazil's Tropicalia movement of the late 60s.
- Pitchfork

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