A bizarre cocktail of rock n’ roll, Tropicalia, and lounge music, Haih Or Amortecedor marks a strange but welcome return for Os Mutantes; their first album in 35 years, it’s easily as strange and nearly as adroit as any of their ‘60s output. While the lineup isn’t the same (two of three original members remain, with laudable help from Jorge Ben and Tom Ze) and the songs unlikely to prove as influential, a fittingly mutant atmosphere prevails, launched by the oblique, Vladimir Putin-voiced opening “Hymns of the World P.1,” which leads to the brassy saxophone march of “Querida Querida,” in which bizarre sounds, from groaning strings to screeching female vocals, are tossed off like confetti. A real tonal balance is never attempted, and even formally restful material like the laidback “Baghdad Blues” teem with rough, nonsensical edges. More traditional material, such as “Samba do Fidel,” display calmer tendencies but feel more like brief rests than any real steps toward tranquility. By the time the album closes with “Hymns of the World P.2,” which achieves chaos by layering national anthems one on top of another, it’s clear that the band has not reformed simply to rest on their laurels. The band’s twitchy dissatisfaction with standard forms, stated clearly in one fidgety song after another, makes for a satisfyingly bizarre album.
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: