OS Mutantes
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OS Mutantes

Bayonne, New Jersey, United States | MAJOR

Bayonne, New Jersey, United States | MAJOR
Band Rock Alternative


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1968: Os Mutantes
1969: Mutantes
1970: A Divina Comédia ou Ando Meio Desligado
1971: Jardim Elétrico
1972: Mutantes e Seus Cometas no País do Baurets
1974: Tudo Foi Feito Pelo Sol
1992: O A e o Z (recorded in 1973)
2000: Tecnicolor (recorded in 1970)
2009: Haih Or Amortecedor
2013: Fool Metal Jack



Fool Metal Jack

Whats in a name? When it concerns the true pioneers of Brazilian psychedelic rock, the answer is just about everything. OsMutantes are much more, in fact, than the mutants of So Paulo's late 60s Tropiclia scene; since their founding in 1966 by brothers ArnaldoBaptista and Srgio Dias with singer Rita Lee, theyve pursued evolution, revolution, musical activism and extreme experimentation at every bend in the road. Theyve also weathered lineup changes, near-death tragedy, break-ups, years of silence, bumpy reunions and tiring but triumphant world tours, often fueled (in the early days, to be sure) by all manner of hallucinogens. And these are just the broad strokes.

Even if the band had never made another albumand they almost didntafter 1974s prog-rock obscurity TudoFoiFeitoPelo Sol (Everything Was Made by the Sun), theres little doubt that the likes of Kurt Cobain, David Byrne, Beck, DevendraBanhart, the Flaming Lips and many more still would have felt the Mutantes influence. Their appeal resides in the ranginess of their music, and to this day, its an ever-morphing aesthetic that Diasnow as de facto frontman, lead guitarist and guiding creative forcecontinues to develop with the latest incarnation of the band.

I feel like Im finally achieving what I wanted, which is basically to have the entire band writing together, he says, referring to the way the majority of Fool Metal JackOsMutantes ninth studio album, and their first to be recorded almost entirely in Englishcame to fruition. We got into a ping-pong way of writing that was very much like improvisation. Thats why most of the parts on the album are first takes. There comes a point in your life, especially when youre deep into music, that you know when youre ready. You know what to do, so you just go and do it. Theres no matter of perfection or thinking about it. I dont work like that. I go for the spontaneity. Then when its time to tour, I have trouble trying to figure out what the hell I did [laughs].

Dias assembled the current lineup in 2008, in the wake of a brief but wildly successful reunion tour with older brother Arnaldo that opened in London before rolling through a string of American cities. They were so warmly received that Dias caught the bug to do it againthis time with some fresh material at the ready. 2009s Haih Or Amortecedor featured contributions from Brazilian legends Jorge Ben and Tom Z, and was the first Mutantes studio album to be released in more than 35 years. New and younger audiences in America and around the world suddenly embraced the band as their own.

It was ridiculous, man, Dias recalls fondly. I mean, to play New York is easy. To play L.A. is easy. But when you go to the middle of the country, to a small town like Lawrence, Kansasheres this wild band from Brazil, playing the old songs and putting out a new album in Portuguese, and everyone just went crazy. And I think this is a movement that is happening because of the power of indie music and the demolishment of the empire of the record companies. Everything used to be very separated, but now it seems more like Brazil!

That sentiment sheds some light on his decision to relocate to the U.S. in 2011. Now a resident of Las Vegas (Can you imagine? Its like being on another planet!), Dias retains a gleeful and contagious sense of adventure on Fool Metal Jack, even as he pointedly examines the darker side of the American Dreamone of the perks of experiencing Vegas on a daily basis. The album kind of built itself on its own, he says, but the first thing I started to understand was that its all about America, and what I was seeing. I have such a high respect for America and its ideals, and how many times you guys fought for those ideals. But how can I saythe corruption of the ideals is hard on every empire. Scary things are happening now, and thats what inspired me for the name of the album.

Fool Metal Jack crackles with depth, confidence and complexity. The title track treads with a marauding, heavy-leaded beat (and VinciusJunqueiras floor-knocking bass) as Dias gnashes his teeth over tales of wartimeyet another young soldier at deaths door. But To Make It Beautiful dispels the darkness in favor of a sunny and endlessly catchy meditation on love, devotion and personal connection. Once Upon A Flight (written by the bands resident multi-instrumentalist VitorTrida) whips up a swirling circus of inspired art-rock riffage, its infectious refrain of Fly...open wide...go, fly out! providing the perfect vehicle for veteran Mutantes drummer DinhoLemeto take off into the stratosphere. By contrast, The Dream Is Gone takes an intimate and poignant look (with Dias on accordion, no less) at Americas housing crisis, channeling hope into the narrative through the sheer songcraft of Dias soothing vocal melody.

And then theres the Rundgren-esque Into Limboa master stroke of