Os Mutantes

Haih...Ou Amortecedor...

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Reunited (partially) in 2006 by the acclaim of their fans, Os Mutantes sound just as vital as they did back in 1968 on Haih...Ou Amortecedor..., their first record together in 30 years. Unfortunately, the original trio is only one-third represented. Specifically, there's no Rita Lee (who was replaced in 2006) and no Arnaldo Baptista (who appeared in the 2006 reunion but decided to continue as a solo act). Still, the band -- now a seven-piece -- gets songs from Tom Zé and Jorge Ben, as well as the band's prime songwriting linchpin, Sérgio Dias. Tropicalia fans yearning for another "Panis et Circenses" won't find their hopes far off the mark; although there's a noticeable lack of production experimentation, the band's strengths are all here -- bright songs, absurdist yet anti-fascist lyrics (Putin begins the album in chilling fashion), sprightly backing harmonies, and the occasional spiky, piercing guitar solo from Dias. Bia Mendes does a surprisingly good job replicating Rita Lee's singsong whine, taking over on "2000 and Agarrum," which updates 1969's "Dois Mil e Um" for the 21st century.

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