Os Mutantes (Universal)




A Divina Comédia (Ou Ando Meio Desligado) (Universal)


Technicolor (Universal)

Phases and Stages
São Paulo's kaleidoscopic cacophony of electo-indigenous instrumentation and percussion warps even further through the prism of Os Mutantes. Brazil's big bang, tropicalia, hurled Arnaldo and Sergio Baptista and siren Rita Lee into the heart of Sixties psychedelia with a pop heard round the world three decades later with David Byrne's compromised Os Mutantes compilation, 1999's Everything Is Possible! Reissues of the trio's first three LPs, Brazilian down to the liner notes, carry no bonuses while barely harnessing a music explosion. 1968's Os Mutantes splashes down with a carnival fanfare and the singsong vocal velour of a Portuguese Beatles on their own Magical Mystery Tour. Chairmen of the board Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil sponsor gateway addiction "Panis et Circenis," while the gaseous distortion and bop-shu-ops of "A Minha Menina" begin the everything-but-the-kitchen-Cuisinart aesthetic of the debut. The crooning Phil Spector homage of "Baby" and canticle "Le Premier Bonheur du Jour" manage to contain some of the chaos. 1969's follow-up is straitjacketed by comparison, and the better for it, kicking off with a Cecil B. DeMille flourish into the beautifully harmonized Euro pop of "Dom Quixote." Irresistible tropi-quirk circa "Dois Mil e Um," the Traffic pulse of "Algo Mais," and "Ritta Lee" come off "Mágica," which gives pure "Satisfaction." A Divina Comédia cackles somewhere between its two predecessors in 1970, the front end an extension of Mutantes and the latter half cutting up closer to the debut. The déjà vu of "Desculpe, Babe," inconsolable (yet easily translated) "Meu Refrigerador Não Funciona," and broiling wipeout of closer "Oh! Mulher Infiel" are indeed divine. That same year, the band re-recorded their greatest hits in English, Technicolor, which didn't see the light of day until 2000, yet remains the oddest of the lot. What "A Minha Menina," "Baby," and "Desculpe, Babe" miss in their original charm they gain in universality.

(Technicolor) ***

(Os Mutantes; A Divina Comédia) ***

(Mutantes) ****

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