Brazilian psych rock outfit Oruã isn’t known for holding back its more tempestuous musical inclinations—the band rolls through these psychedelic back alleys and reservoirs without regard for where they might end up. And that’s part of the music’s allure; the band approaches these fractured rhythms and fuzzed-up melodies with a mischievous and capricious intent. Their songs are bathed in lo-fi garage and psych sounds, the result of their adoration for the collected histories of bands like Silver Apples, Os Mutantes and Red Krayola.
Built around the combined rhythmic associations of multi-instrumentalist Lê Almeida, bassist João Luiz, drummer Daniel Duarte and drummer Phill Fernandes, Oruã create intricate and often-dense webs of guitar noise and roughed-up pop expulsions. Borrowing a bit from shoegaze, garage rock and vintage psych rock, they mold this overarching musical narrative to fit their shared influences and backgrounds. But even in this ever-shifting ocean of noise, they understand the fundamental necessity of laying out the proper rock and pop foundations, of digging into the heart of their preferred genres rather than simply mimicking the work of their various inspirations.
For their latest record, “Sem Bênção/Sem Crença,” which was released last year but will find a wider distribution next month in the United States via IFB Records and in Brazil shortly afterward, the band cycles through a gritty pop landscape of vivid psych experiments and broken rock arrangements. Swirling vocals blend with warped melodies and striking production choices to create a sound that hearkens back to the late ’60s but also retains a modern sense of composition and influence.
Recently, the band released a video for the album’s title track, an eight-minute beast that acts as a sort of primer for all the angles that their psych-indebted pop and rock aesthetic develops. Filled with flashing lights, overexposed images and the band performing in front of outdoor scenes, the clip is a heady mash of ecstatic visuals and dense guitar theatrics. Filmed in Búzios, a Brazilian resort town located on an oceanic peninsula east of Rio de Janeiro, the footage was taken “during a crazy weekend of beaches, trips and kaleidoscopic lenses.” According to the band, they “wanted to show how beachy and stoned the sound in the video could be.”
The song perfectly encapsulates the broad range of sounds that the band explores at any given point. The strange rhythms and inverted patterns slowly coalesce into a tightly spun lattice of noise that pummels and surrounds you second by second. Finding a way to combine the fingers-of-a-god guitar sounds of Dinosaur Jr. with the psych eccentricities of The Flaming Lips, Oruã effortlessly balances this primal musical force, revealing its distorted and cavernous depths each passing minute.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employ