Morphing Mutantes disappoint

Brazilian legends Os Mutantes’ release over-ambitious reunion album.

PHOTO COURTESY ANTI- RECORDS

PHOTO COURTESY ANTI- RECORDS

John Sand

âÄúHaih or AmortecedorâÄù ARTIST: Os Mutantes LABEL: ANTI- Following a quizzical stint as the soundtrack to a 2008 McDonaldâÄòs Happy Meal commercial , legendary Brazilian psychedelic rock band Os Mutantes is back with their first new studio album in 35 years . âÄúHaih or AmortecedorâÄù proves that Os Mutantes have maintained that same pre-punk, Muppet -like Tropicália sound that they had in their debut in the late 1960s . The albumâÄôs first full-length track is âÄúQuerida, Querida,âÄù a too-whimsical hallucinogenic Gregorian chant-inspired jam from the Swedish ChefâÄòs kitchen. They quickly press on to âÄúTeclar,âÄù a fervent castanet hysteria/âÄô60s free-love rock jam that ends up sounding like a Disney adaptation of âÄúLucy in the Sky with Diamonds.âÄù Most of the tracks have a hopping, foot-tapping rhythm to begin with, but decelerate towards the end. âÄú2000 E AgarrumâÄù starts wild and free with circling vocals and a slamming accordion, but loses its cool, falling into an incoherent mess of shouting that plays out like a soundtrack to Ringling Bros. and Barnum and BaileyâÄôs on âÄôshrooms. As the record continues, it refuses to coalesce; âÄúHaih or AmortecedorâÄù whirls back and forth like an epic list of re-mastered B-sides and demos. Any undertaken experimentation falls short, sounding immature despite the bandâÄôs longstanding career. âÄúGopala Krishna Om,âÄù investigates deep bass rumbles and ribbitting frogs in some jumbled interpretation of yogi meditation. Sounds like a trip, but not a pleasant one. Though Os Mutantes have stayed true to their roots, âÄúHaih or AmortecedorâÄù lacks the cohesion needed for a pleasant listen. Instead of adopting a clear focus, the messy hodge-podge seems to be grasping to replicate the elements that dazzled crowds back in the day as they tripped on Brazilian acid. The result, however, is a jarring disappointment, an album thatâÄôs nearly impossible to listen to from open to close.