For the legendary Tropicália group's first release in 35 years, sole remaining founder member Sérgio Dias Baptista has again turned to fellow Brazilian musical revolutionaries Tom Zé and Jorge Ben for co-writing assistance.
Thankfully, none of them has lost the questing spirit that made Tropicália such an innovative movement, and Haih Or Amortecedor is full of typically idiosyncratic mélanges. "2000 e Agarrum", for instance, sounds like an updated, ironic Carmen Miranda number periodically split by spindly bursts of guitar and bits which resemble David Byrne in Latino crooner mode: it's a completely crazy, anarchic mixture of styles, somehow corralled into disciplined shape. Likewise, the honking synth-horns and fuzz-guitar scrawl of "Querida Querida" both seem contrary to the groove's central thrust, yet when allied to the strident female vocal, guitar solo and sundry effects, somehow sound just right. "O Careca" is a slinky samba, "Teclar" and "O Mensageiro" oddly arranged prog-folk exercises in the vein of a mutant New Seekers, while "Bagdad Blues" resembles the Latino-noir sections of Henry Mancini's soundtrack to Touch of Evil. Nice to see Sérgio hasn't lost his political edge, either: the opening snatch of Putin and the Red Army in mutual demagogic rapture is one of the most genuinely frightening things you'll ever hear.
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