From the same Goiânia neo-psychedelic indie scene that produced Carne Doce, Boogarins developed from the childhood friendship of Dinho Almeida (voice and guitar) and Benke Ferraz (guitar), the duo recorded an EP, As Plantas Que Curam, which garnered them a record deal. Expanding to a quartet with Raphael Vaz on bass and Hans Castro on drums, the band released a debut album of the same name as the EP. Castro left the band for parenthood to be replaced by former Macaco Bong drummer Ynaiã Benthroldo. In the process they’ve become one of the more popular Brazilian rock acts this decade. At their best the burst through their nostalgic sound with saudade melodies, tasty guitar and canny, but unfussy, texturing. Of course, they aren’t always at their best. You can hear and purchase their music here.
As Plantas Que Curam (2013) – Mixing American/British late ’60s sonics with touches of Os Mutantes’ Brazilian psychedelia, this competent debut mainly establishes that the band has a sound—which is pretty close to Tame Impala, actually—and can write solid, if unremarkable, songs. Castro can’t push as effectively as Benthroldo will, so the songs mostly sit there. Their influences can sound more like plagiarism than inspiration—that’s the Kinks’ “Lazy Old Sun” melody on “Hoje Aprendi de Verdade”. The album’s not bad per se, but really it just makes me want to pull out, well, Something Else. Grade: C
Boogarins, Manual, ou Guia Livre de Dissolução dos Sonhos (2015) – On their second album, the band moves beyond echoing the past to putting their own stamp on it. The album leads with a brief guitar instrumental and then launches into four near perfect neo-psychedelic nuggets. The playing is straightforward, with Almeida and Ferraz’s guitars tracing out simple lines or riffs, usually repeating or slightly varying them, while new drummer Ynaiã Benthroldo and bassist Vaz keep the songs from drifting away. The effect is expansive, recapturing that late ’60s soaring sense of mind-altering utopia before the overdoses, addictions and bad trips sent everything crashing back to reality in the early ’70s. Of course, these four were born well after that beautiful lie, so translate the lyrics to read a bleaker worldview and hear the music take on a more melancholic ennui without losing it’s power. Either way, heady stuff. But after the fifth track, mood begins to replace songs, tunes drift and the energy enervates. They bounce back on the final two tracks, although they still miss the highs of those opening numbers. Grade: B
Desvio Onírico (2017) – Live EP where they stretch out and slow down. Maybe it’s impressive on drugs, but if so it makes me think I’m not missing much with my boring life. The improvised track is a disaster. Grade: D
Lá Vem a Morte (2017) – On their third proper album Boogarins finally lives up to their influences. Channeling the cosmic strum of the Moody Blues (without the tuneless warble or spoken word nonsense) and the textural moves of Spirit but with better songs, the band puts out an album with more tasty sounds than almost any current Amerindie act. The secret is sonics you can dive into tied to melodies that keep you from getting lost or bored in soundscapes. Almeida’s fetching, androgynous singing floats above his and Ferraz’s guitars which soar, soothe and chime while the rhythm section drifts or drives as the situation requires. Translated, the album title is Here Comes Death, and in case you missed the point, “Onda Negra” (Black Wave) and “Elogio à Instituoção do Cinismo” (Praise for the Institution of Cynicism), let you know you’re in for a downer. But thanks to the language barrier, you can just enjoy some pretty, melancholy music without focusing on oblivion. The deluxe edition adds three useless tracks, including a cover of the Kinks’ “No Return” that makes me wonder if they understand what was great about the Kinks. Grade: B+
Casa das Janelas Verdes OST (2017) – Two 30-minute sides made up of half-formed songs and sonic snippets that are meant to be watched with some video, but nothing here induced me to click the link. Perhaps they think it’s their Can move, to which I’ll just reply, “Really, you Can’t.” To their credit, it’s a “name your price” download. Grade: D+
Sombrou Dúvida (2019) – You know they’re pop because they sequence most of their albums with the best stuff up front. As on Manual, but more dramatically and with worse overall results, this starts strong and falls off. The first four tracks continue the welcome sonic depth of Lá Vem a Morte with even stronger, more direct songwriting that edges anthemic without crossing to corny. The songs are full of delicious details—strangulated guitars, braking and breaking sound effects, cannily repurposed melodies. But after peaking with “Dislexia ou Transe”, they aim for moody on “A Tradição” and end up muddy. The My Bloody Valentine hints on “Nós” recover some, but they follow that with four tracks of filler where the aural inventiveness recedes and the album sags. One or more tracks worthy of the first four leavened in that final run and the album might have risen to the top of their catalog. As is, it sounds like they ran out of ideas and inspiration. Grade: B-