Over the past year or so, renowned Brazilian psych rock quartet Boogarins quickly became a JOVM mainstay artist, and if you’ve been frequenting this site over that period, you would have come across posts on several single off their most recent album, Manual. But before, we talk about the album. let’s get into some backstory for those folks, who may be coming here for the first time — and to refresh the memories of my regular readers.
The Brazilian psych rock quartet can trace their origins to when its founding members, 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 and cultural history — but with a decidedly modern viewpoint. As Plantas Que Curam, the band’s 2013 debut effort was a decidedly lo-fi, home studio effort, recorded and pieced together by the band’s founding duo in isolation before they had ever played a live gig. By the time, As Plantas Que Curam was released, Almedia and Ferraz had recruited a rhythm section and the completed lineup then began to develop a profile both in their hometown and across the country, as the band was starting to book and play regular gigs in Sao Paulo and several of Brazil’s largest cities. Interestingly, without the support of a label or a massive press push, the band’s debut effort was a critical and commercial success in their homeland — the album and the band received praise from Rolling Stone Brazil, who had dubbed the band “Best New Artist” that year, and the album was nominated for several awards on GloboTV’s annual music award show. Of course, for the band, these accolades are well-deserved but arguably, some of the success and attention they’ve seen in their homeland may also come 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.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that I was on the forefront with the band; however, what I will say is that as I’ve been writing about them, the Brazilian psych rock quartet have started to see increasing international attention — partially as a result of me, my colleagues and others across the blogosphere writing about them but largely as a result of the band 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.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site you may know that during the band’s 2014 European tour, the members of the band spent two weeks in Jorge Explosion’s Estudio Circo Perrotti in Gijón, Spain, where they began tracking material, which would wind up comprising their sophomore effort, Manual,ou guia livre de dissolução dossonhos, which translates into English as Manual, or Free Guide to the Dissolution of Dreams. The material on the album is specifically meant to viewed as a diary — or a sort of dream journal. And as a result, the material is not only much more personal than their debut effort, it’s also their most socially conscious effort, as it draws from the socioeconomic and political issues that affected 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. Thematically speaking, the phenomenon that informs Manual should feel frighteningly familiar as there’s a growing chasm between the haves and the have nots, while the world’s major cities are experiencing the effects of gentrification.
Manual‘s latest single “Benzin” is a contemplative song that feels as though the song’s narrator was awoken from a pleasant dream while sounding as though it draws from Pink Floyd, 60s garage psych, Tropicalia and bossa nova — or in other words, it will further cement their reputation for crafting incredibly breezy psych rock. And the recently released music video consists of some stunning and surreal visuals, which should be watched in full-screen to fully appreciate some of the world’s glorious, natural wonders, Although, the narrative is difficult to actually discern — and really, who cares about that, when you actually see these visuals! — it does end with some childlike mischief and wonder, as we see a group of young people splashing around in a lake.