I first heard Boogarins when Other Music released their debut on their fledging record label. The East Village institution is sadly now closed, but years ago, as a dog walker with plenty of time to kill in the area, I spent many afternoons there. I always associated Boogarins with that shop, even though they’re from a continent away. That summer, I saw them play a free outdoor show with Jacco Gardner. It was the perfect night for their breezy Brazilian psych. Good as the show and first album was, I’d basically forgotten about them, and was pleasantly surprised they had a new album out.
Sombrou Dúvida is such a vibey album, it’s hard to write about with much direct analysis. I guess I feel that way about a lot of Brazilian music. I listened to Caetano Veloso’s 1967 self titled album, recently reissued by Third Man Records. It’s a classic, full of wild psychedelic guitar, acoustic strumming, soul, classical, jazz, funk, folk, spoken word… He definitely takes a maximalist, abstract approach. Boogarins are much the same, stitching together many styles for a fun but challenging listen. Verse-chorus-verse this is not, which is true from from Os Mutantes to Boogarins. The songs are also all in Portuguese, adding a layer of mystery for the non-speaking listener.
Sombrou Dúvida has a modern production touch, with moments of solid grooves and sweeping synths to drive the songs forward, much like Dungen or Tame Impala. Songs like “Dislexia ou Transe” and “Te Quero Longe” especially have this sound, employing some of the same vocal styles, synths, and overall tone as the other groups. Although Boogarins’ abstract style and language barrier might keep them from being festival headliners in the States, their sound isn’t far off those bands. Like so much of this album, it’s difficult to pinpoint, but you’ll know it when you hear it. Boogarins style of modern Tropicália is meant to be experienced, to be seen outside in the summer, to be danced to. I recommend this album to fans of adventurous music looking for fresh summer jams.