Boogarins' soundtrack for the end of the world
Brazilian quartet releases surprise third album
English-speaking countries haven't cornered the market for swirling, deeply textured psychedelic rock. Take Sweden, for example: Led by the multi-talented Gustav Estjes, Sweden's Dungen has amassed a tidy catalog of boundary-pushing, progressive psych. And then there's Argentina by way of Spain: Capsula makes heavy psychedelic power-trio rock. Now from Brazil, comes Boogarins, a quartet that spins out dizzying music that draws as much from prime-era Flaming Lips circa The Soft Bulletin and modern, glitchy trip hop as it does from classic psych of the 1960s.
Boogarins' first album, As Plantas Que Curam, ("The Plants That Heal?) was released in 2013. A second full-length, Manual ou Guia Livre de Dissolṳ̣o dos Sonhos ("Manual or Free Guide to Dissolution of Dreams?) followed in 2015.
In an unannounced move, Boogarins released a third album, L?? Vem a Morte ("There Comes to Death?) in June. Initially available on CD and digitally via streaming on the group's website, the album is scheduled for eventual release on vinyl as well. L?? Vem a Morte showcases the band's trademark sound, one that's equal parts gauzy and groove-focused, with a gentle air that still manages to rock.
Francisco "Dino" Almeida's vocals are bathed in layers of reverb and echo, and Ynaị Benthroldo's drums are often supported by percussion loops. Working closely with those drums, Raphael Vaz's bass creates a heady, hypnotic underpinning for Boogarins' soothing, swaying tunes. The band's sound has subtle hints of Brazilian tropicalia, imbuing many of the songs on L?? Vem a Morte with an exotic feel. And when the band does crank up the crunch as it does on "Corredor Polon̻s" ("Polish Corridor?), mixed by Mitch Easter the results are equally impressive.
The eight-song L?? Vem a Morte is anchored by the title song, split into three tracks spread across the album. Found sounds and piano textures work their way into the mix, creating an ambiance that's occasionally reminiscent of late '60s Pink Floyd. Overall, the band's South American roots distill Boogarins' influences into something wholly unique and special.
The group has toured the U.S. before, first visiting the Southeast in early 2014, with a live show that focuses on the music. The Portuguese vocals won't be intelligible to most American listeners, but the kaleidoscopic vibe of the L?? Vem a Morte songs "Foimal," "Onda Negra" and "Elogio ?? Institui̤̣o do Cinismo" comes through loud and clear. There's a sense of confusion, alienation, loss and resignation, but it's all leavened by a glimmer of hope.
As Almeida writes on the band's website, "These songs are a reflection of the lack of sensibility in which we live. Maybe it's time to be strong, throw away the hypocrisy and face the bad and the good feelings at once ??_ and find some deep truth besides the infinite superficiality of our days." Even if the future of the planet doesn't look too good right now, thanks to Boogarins the present has an appealing soundtrack.