If you’ve been frequenting this site for the past few weeks or so, you may remember that I’ve written about the internationally acclaimed Brazilian indie psych rock quartet, Boogarins. The Brazilian quartet can trace their origins to when its founding duo, Fernando “Dino” Almeida and Benke Ferraz started playing music together as teenagers in their hometown, the central Brazilian city of Goiânia. The music that Almedia and Ferraz began to write and then eventually record was a unique vision of psych pop that drew from their country’s incredibly rich and diverse musical history — but with a decidedly modern viewpoint. Their 2013 full-length debut, written and recorded as a duo, As Plantas Que Curam was a decidedly lo-fi home studio effort, pieced together in isolation before the duo had ever played a live gig. By the time, their debut album was released, Almedia and Ferraz had recruited a rhythm section, and the completed lineup had started developing a profile both in their hometown and nationally, as they started booking and playing regular gigs in Sao Paulo and several of Brazil’s largest cities. Without much support from a label or from a major PR firm, As Plantas Que Curam was a critical and commercial success in Brazil, as the album received praise from Rolling Stone Brazil, who had dubbed the band “Best New Artist” in 2013, and the album was nominated for several awards on GloboTV’s annual music award shows. Arguably, a great deal of the success and attention that Boogarins has seen in their homeland comes from the fact that unlike the majority of contemporary Brazilian acts that primarily sing lyrics in English, like their British, Australian and American counterparts, Boogarins’ material is written and sung completely in Brazilian Portuguese.
Now, if there’s one thing the blogosphere has gotten absolutely right, its the fact that as a general rule it has given attention and praise to a number of fantastic internationally-based acts that many American listeners wouldn’t have been aware of before, unless they were particularly adventurous. And over the last two years or so, Boogarins have started to receive increasing international attention as the band as toured across the globe, playing at some of the world’s most renowned and largest festivals, including Austin Psych Fest, Burgerama, Primavera Sound Festival and headlining shows in clubs in London, Paris, Barcelona and New York. Naturally, with that kind of exposure, the band started to receive praise from a number of internationally recognized outlets such as Pitchfork and The New York Times, who once compared the Brazilian band’s sound to the likes of early Jefferson Airplane.
During their Spring 2014 European tour, the members of Boogarins spent two weeks in Jorge Explosion’s Estudio Circo Perrotti in Gijón, Spain, where they started tracking material, which would wind up comprising their sophomore effort, Manual, which was released last Friday. Actually, the album’s full (and official title) is Manual,ou guia livre de dissolução dos sonhos, which translates into English as Manual, or Free Guide to the Dissolution of Dreams, and the material on the album is specifically meant to be viewed as a diary or sort of dream journal.
Manual‘s material is reportedly not only more personal than their debut, it’s also more socially conscious as it draws from the sociopolitical and class issues affecting their homeland before, during and after the 2014 World Cup as entire neighborhoods were pushed aside and destroyed for massive commercial developments that helped wealthy global corporations make even more money, instead of uplifting those who desperately needed socioeconomic uplift — an uplift that the country’s poorest, most vulnerable and most at risk were promised. Certainly, as Americans — and as a native New Yorker — the phenomenon that informs Manual should feel frighteningly familiar, as the country’s cities are having their faces, characters and populations changing from increasing gentrification, and as increasing numbers of people are struggling to maintain a semblance of “The American Dream.”
Last month, I had written about album single “Avalanche,” a slow-burning yet breezy and percussive song comprised of shimmering guitar chords played through reverb and delay pedals, swirling feedback and a sinuous bass line paired with plaintive and ethereal vocals. And in some way, the song sonically speaking sounded as though it drew from Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd and Tropicalia but thematically drawing from Rage Against the Machine; in other words, dreamy and trippy yet grounded in the real world — and done in a way that’s powerfully accessible. The album’s latest single “6000 Dias” is a slow-burning kaleidoscopic song that’s propelled and held together by a tight rhythm section, as the song is composed of about three distinct segments — one which includes a gorgeously, twisting and turning guitar solo that’s reminiscent of Robby Krieger‘s incredible, guitar solo in “Light My Fire” before ending in a gentle fade out, evoking the sensation of slowly waking from a pleasant reverie and into a bitter reality.
The official video for “6000 Dias” is comprised of footage of the band hanging out, recording in the studio, performing in small clubs all over our pale blue dot, goofing off in the desert and random museum goers passing through a hallucinogenic light installation. If there’s one thing that the video suggests, it’s something obvious to those who have travelled a lot — the more you travel, the more things blur together and seem the same. You can be walking down the streets of Downtown Frankfurt am Main, near the Romer section and have the distinct impression that you were walking around Boston’s Boylston Street or in Downtown Baltimore. The only thing that seems to set anything apart is your impressions.