Album of the Day: Piri, “Vocês Querem Mate?”
By Joe Gross · May 11, 2017 Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

Have you listened to Os Mutantes as much as humanly possible? Is there no aspect of Gilberto Gil that remains unexplored? Are you able to sing every note on “Tropicália: ou Panis et Circensis” and hum all the basslines AT THE SAME TIME?

Boy, are you in for a treat.

Behold, Vocês Querem Mate?—an obscure slab of 1970-vintage Brazilian psych-folk that packs an afternoon’s worth of delicate trippiness into 28 minutes. (It is two minutes longer and approximately 3,000 times sunnier than Slayer’s 1986 release, Reign in Blood.) Reissued by Far Out (they are really doing God’s work here), Vocês Querem Mate? is the brainchild of one Piry Reis, joined by fellow Brazilian flautists Paulinho Jobim and Danilo Caymmi, and brilliant percussionists Juquina and Wilson Das Neves.

On tracks like the deeply groovy “As Incríveis Peripécias De Danilo,” acoustic guitar, flute, bass, and percussion blur together into ecstatic bliss-out, with the timbre of Reis’s voice compelling you to turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream.

And again, this is compact stuff; the ecstatic “Cupído Esculpido” clocks in at a downright epic 3:06, complete with a groove that could easily hold up for another hour or so. The title translates as “Carved Cupid” which seems, on the surface, odd, given the music’s impossibly cool swing and lilt (and even more absurd given the faintly ridiculous album cover).

But the first track is called “Reza Brava” which translate to “Pray Hard.” “Sombra Morta” translates to “Dead Shadow.” There’s an edge here, the same sort of subdermal melancholia that animated Love’s 1967 album, Forever Changes. But underneath the acoustic guitars, light drums, and vocals that even Johnny Mathis wouldn’t sneeze at, there could be something very dark indeed. Desfrute, mas cuidado. A morte está em toda parte.

—Joe Gross

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