(2 out of 5)
Brazilian psych-rock legends Os Mutantes forged a path that was uniquely their own through the tropicália revolution of the early ’70s. That path has justifiably earned the group a spot in the Odd-Rock Hall of Fame, and no fan of excellently off-kilter music should ignore Os Mutantes’ first three albums. It has been 35 years since the band’s last studio album and although HAIH OR AMORTECEDOR finds bandleader Sergio Dias reclaiming the Mutantes moniker and the collaborative influence of tropicália legends Jorge Ben and and Tom Zé, there seems to be little of the spunky and quirky spark that brilliantly drove the group’s early work. To be sure, there’s plenty of quirk – the disc opens with an address from Vladimir Putin – and Dias and his new Mutantes careen from style (cabaret music!) to style (samba!) to style (chamber-pop!), but much of it feels forced. This willfully oddball approach is vastly different from the breezy, acid-fueled blend of Brazilian pop and psychedelic rock that earned Os Mutantes their reputation and, like so many overdue revivals, this is one that probably would have been best left un-revived.