In a way it’s kind of a shame Garotas Suecas are from Sao Paolo, Brazil. Hailing from any other locale, Tropicalia would be listed as just one amongst the bands many influences – not the first and most discussed. In truth, the band and their eponymous debut EP are equal parts soul, garage rock and yes, a good helping of Tropicalia. But in the way that their most obvious predecessor (though not necessarily influencer) Os Mutantes made the language barrier disappear between American audiences and their Portuguese lyrics, Garotas Suecas instantly grabs you because, well, it’s insanely catchy.
Opener “Bugalu” is full of the foot-stomping call and response one would expect from iterations of Boogaloo, with the joyous mixture of the bands Brazilian and rock roots. “Senhor Sabe Tudo” ends with an ever ascending speed as Dap Kings-esque horns soar and dive; a blues harmonica takes the lead next to the easily chantable lyrics. Closer “Codinome Dinamite” shows more interest in Stax than Gilberto Gil. The band backs up lead-singer Guilherme Saldanha’s vocal cojones – thunderous organ, drums in overdrive and group vocals to make any fan of harmony proud.
Garotas Suecas exudes an exuberance and flair much in the same way that really good garage rock instigate crowds to bop around, or how soul and funk groups use their groove to command an audience to dance. Across the span of the EPs five tracks there is a bravado and confidence rarely seen in debut releases. Uniquely its own, the feeling of timelessness is all over the EP: not that of “this record could have been been made in 1970” but that of “I could see this record coming out in 1970 and blowing minds.” Luckily, blowing minds is, in fact, timeless. words/ b kramer
MP3: Garotas Suecas :: Eu