Os Mutantes album cover
Os Mutantes

Os Mutantes


The trio of brothers Arnaldo Baptista and Sérgio Dias with singer Rita Lee infused Tropicália with wide-eyed exuberance and the reckless abandon of a 5-year-old in a bouncy castle. Taking a name that translates as “the Mutants,” they had the chops to match that youthful energy, careening between tough garage stompers and acid-tinged balladry with glee. Opener “Panis et Circenses” definitely offers the most madcap statement of a band. A blow-by-blow is reductive but also instructive: Triumphant horn fanfare, then dreamy vocal pop, veering into a psychedelic fuzz bomb that suddenly melts like film stuck in a projector. The song speeds back up like a go cart with the brakes cut before ending in a chaotic din of silverware, musique concrete noise, and Strauss’ “The Blue Danube Waltz.” Imagine Un Chien Andalou as garage rock and you’re getting close, all crammed into 3 dizzying minutes. Such audacious joy and sonic U-turns abound on their classic debut.

Andy Beta

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