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Secos & Molhados - Secos & Molhados CD (album) cover


Secos & Molhados


Prog Folk

4.20 | 29 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars In assessing this classic Brazilian release from 1973, one that enthralled millions at the time and influenced thousands in the decades since, I feel almost as heretical as SECOS & MOLHADOS surely were at the time. Visually part of the glam movement, with a lead vocalist who in short order professed sexual interest in men, their mere existence flouted the military dictatorship of the time. They grew out of the Tropicalia movement of the 1960s which was spearheaded by OS MUTANTES among others, and that forms a pretty reasonable summation of their sound at the time of this debut. To those who have arrived here via the prog folk classification, I must warn you this isn't especially folky, acoustic guitars and woodwinds notwithstanding, but that does seem to be the default position when world music trumpets its presence in these parts.

Not surprisingly, the more acoustic oriented pieces have aged the best, with the opener "Sangue latino" (Latin blood) being the strongest, an irresistible bass line lying down first and having its way with the strummed and picked guitars that form the upper layer. Most strikingly is the voice of Ney Matogrosso. To say it's androgynous is to imply ambiguity of a sort, but his pitch perfect and versatile counter tenor is a ringer for a woman singer, and an accomplished one at that. His voice is one of the calling cards of the group, and, while later lineups did not include him, it's hard to think of them as emanating from the same collective. Other superb contributions in this vein are "Amor", again with killer bass but also harmony vocals.

In contrast to the sultry acoustic numbers are the more upbeat fuzzy leftovers from a bad 1960s hangover. "O vira" would be one of the best/worst examples. The approach is light and silly while retaining musical professionalism, like the aforementioned OS MUTANTES but also like what QUEEN would cash in on a few years later. I'm not sure if this would have been considered groundbreaking at the time, but my prog antennae barely rise from the horizontal.

A suite of 5 tracks toward the tail end all clock in at barely 2 minutes or less, and, apart from the mammoth 2:02 length "Rosa de Hiroshima", are predictably both pretty and as fleeting as the proverbial ephemeroptera. Sadly, this lineup mimicked said life cycle, and split before their follow up was even released. I realize that awarding two stars for a landmark debut might result in my certificate of cultural competency being shredded before my eyes, so a weak 3 stars it is. I'm not saying you had to be there in both space and time to fully appreciate SECOS & MOLHADOS' calling card, but I'd wager a tastefully stocked boutique of wet and dry goods that it would sure help.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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