Psychedelic music perpetually pushes sounds and musical forms, exploring exciting and untapped corners of the mind. Brazil’s Boogarins mastered the style from a very early stage in their career, amassing an army of worldwide followers. Now they’ve set a new challenge for themselves: invoke the psychedelic spirit in a more nuanced way – letting it guide their creativity rather than control it. And with their brand new album Sombrou Dúvida, they might have learned how to tap into mind-warping psychedelics, while also delivering a deeply emotional experience.
Few predicted that Fernando “Dino” Almeida and Benke Ferraz’s home recordings would result in a string of world tours and festival appearances – but maybe that was part of the magic. Aided by Raphael Vaz on bass, and drummer Hans Castro (eventually replaced by Ynaia Benthroldo), the band explored everything from feel-good psych pop, to instrumental meltdowns, and even sinister electronic soundscapes.
Now, Sombrou Dúvida answers a question imposed by the band themselves: How do you break out of the comfort zone?
“[The name of the record] came from an improvisation set that we did during the recording of our previous album,” Almeida tells Remezcla. “We take most of our ideas and sounds from our lives, the situations we go through, and our relationships. The title ended up working as a word game: ‘where shadow or doubt’ are the words that came up the most [during our improvisational set], bringing this idea that you have to put yourself in doubt of the constant movement [that is] living, protecting yourself from new ideas of our times.”
The title raises other questions – many of which are not answered on the album. Each song is an exercise in exploring the “hows” instead of the “whys.” Sonically speaking, Boogarins crafted their most rounded album to date, replete with the kind of gorgeous psych-pop melodies that made their debut album, As Plantas Que Curam an instant hit with fans, as well as the more abstract and darker musical elements that made their most recent album, Lá Vem a Morte an essential addition to their discography.
“Playing live constantly and being able to improvise together in any circumstance is the only way we can [write] since we don’t really have time or money to not play shows and take breaks to rehearse new ideas,” says Almeira. “We would take a few weeks off and work on the music and then [go] back on the road, so we could focus on creating and also recording the songs.”
Emotions and themes weave together on this album in dramatic and unexpected ways. “Te Quero Longe” evolves from melodic soft rock, into a noisy and atmospheric crescendo that reflects the band’s perpetual duality. Others like “Invenção” or “Nós” fuse the band’s two most dominant sides – creating a singular sound – both visceral and dazzling in its execution.
The instrumentation on this album serves to iron out the minutiae, while cradling the delicate melodies that handle the emotional heavy lifting – giving Sombrou Dúvida a proper psychedelic sensory experience – and resulting in one of the most alluring albums we’ve seen this year.
Sombrou Dúvida is out Friday on OAR, but we’ve got an exclusive early stream for you below: