Os Mutantes, the most celebrated band from our region comes back with a first album in 35 years! Ok, every single review of Haih or Amortecedor starts with this fact, but I guess us in particular should be jumping up and down for what could be the year’s Latin album. Thing is, it clearly isn’t and we hate to say it but we saw it coming. Comebacks are rarely amazing, better hope the reunion brings some nostalgia to spread around and luckily it does. Turns out this isn’t the disappointment us skeptics had leaded it out to be, they still sound like themselves although not as equally aware of new media or the state of mind of the post-national post-industrial consumer.
As I had pointed out, the first single “Teclar” is a very depressing track for the most part because it sounds like world music, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but Os Mutantes are anything but regionalism. Luckily, the leading track is misleading. Hair or Amortecedor is full of blissful moments, far away from the exoticism of its artwork, reaffirming the band’s pronouncement to step away from clichéd carnival-striking songs. Well, with the exception of “2000 E Agarrum”, a classic which oddly enough, steps back from its tribal glory to instead face foreign mechanism; this practice is already exemplified and amplified by some of Os Mutantes pupils like Devendra Banhart or Of Montreal.
Through songs like “Gopala Krishna Om” and “Querida Querida” is pretty clear they aim to departure into uncommon places, it doesn’t quite work if you’re unaware of the virtual window and are unconsciously a participant of such phenomenon. This wouldn’t affect most bands out there but Os Mutantes carry the psychedelic flag of their time, immediately feeding their challenge: trying to wave it into a new group of listeners, who have processed and progressed “A Minha Menina.” Haih or Amortecedor ends up as a flawed but nostalgically rich, quite pleasing addition to one of those legendary bands we’re so lucky to have met on our lifetime.