O Bando's lone, self-titled album, originally released in 1969, is quite a different beast from most of what often pops up under the umbrella of hippie-era Brazilian psychedelia. Sonically speaking, the record really has nothing whatsoever to do with the cutting-edge tropicalia sound of the time, as it contains no indigenous Brazilian elements at all. Instead, it's a solidly U.K./U.S.-inspired piece of work, and a quite ambitious one at that. While such tropicalia icons as Jorge Ben and Caetano Veloso -- as well as bossa nova legend Dori Caymmi -- made some contributions to the songwriting here, the dominant influences seem to be artists like the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and Traffic. Folk-rock, baroque pop, and straight-up psych sounds all come into play over the course of the album, which is said to have been recorded with the most state-of-the-art gear available in Brazil at the time. While O Bando shift back and forth between the aforementioned approaches, their classic-sounding garage-psych combo organ, fuzz guitar lines, and male/female sunshine pop vocal harmonies maintain the most consistent presence throughout the tracks. The most immediately striking aspect of the sound, though, comes from the bold string and horn arrangements, which move between agreeably loungey ‘60s mod stylings and a more ornate, artful, classical-influenced feel seemingly informed by Pet Sounds. Some ‘60s collectors might toss this record too casually into the bin marked "Brazilian," but it stands up equally well alongside its English and American counterparts.
AllMusic Review by James Allen