Personnel: Alex Figueira (vocals, drums, percussion); Stuart Carter (guitar, organ); James Porch (electric bass).
Recording information: Barracao Sound Laboratory.
Photographer: Bastiaan Koot.
When Fumaça Preta issued their self-titled debut on Soundway back in 2014, it confused many but attracted more. The crazy trio of Alex Figueira, Stuart Carter, and James Porch laid down a wicked brew of equal parts trashy psychedelia, garage rock, post-tropicalia samba, Latin punk, drunken cumbia, and more. Impuros Fanaticos, the group's second long-playing exercise, is the trial of music by fire. The m.o. here was to grow their sound, erasing lines between genres while fracturing them at the same time with flagrant, rampant experimentation. It results in something altogether darker and more sinister, yet its listenability is more contagious and viral. There are so many sounds in this mix (clanging metal work, indefinable percussion, electro synth squiggles, gated reverb, volume and effects pedals), all assembled with a playful sense of anarchy and militancy. The lengthy title track opener wanders into being as it melds speculative choro flutes (they briefly quote the intro to Frank Sinatra's "The Summer Wind"), reverbed guitars, trancey snares, droning basslines, and Figueira braying out lyrics like the Pop Group's Mark Stewart on acid. Translated from Portuguese, he rants: "Stick your selfie stick/In the infinite hole of your idiosyncrasy...In a pompous container/Fence well the ashes of the kind idolatry...And drink the blood till no more/Served to the attendants in a crowded Eucharist...." Its incantatory throb and pulse, with tacked-on cymbals and fuzzed-out guitar chords, percussion, and textured sound effects, simply stop eight minutes later. "Baldonero" answers with a funky Latin bassline, tambu drumming, and Black Sabbath-esque power riffs. Tropical rhythms and screwy female backing vocals create an irresistible nightmare behind Figueira. Hendrix-ian salsa grooves meet post-punk and Frank Zappa in "Decimo Andar," while Morricone-esque spaghetti Westerns glom onto dirgey Sonoran desert chants in "Morrer de Amor." (This may be the first time we've ever heard "doom metal maracas.") "Ressace da Gloria" is dirty, swaggering psych-punk. It is answered by the glorious single "La Trampa," where Bollywood dance music meets Syrian dabke and Mexican rock à la Molotov. This track is a prime introduction to Fumaça Preta's irresistible funhouse mirror of sound. The closer, "A Serpente," circles back to the album's beginning. It too commences with a loopy but trancey groove, a fuzzy guitar riff, loose hypnotic snares, and low chanted vocals through the first half. At the bridge, Figueira starts to grunt and growl; the track explodes in tempo, sound, and color with analog synths, overdriven razor-wire guitars, and charging drum clatter. His vocal is drenched in endless chambers of echo before the jam enters the realm of bluesy doom. Impuros Fanaticos is not just a step further for Fumaça Preta: it is the gateway for a compulsive music-making where lines between tradition, genre, composition, and improvisation don't blend; they bleed into the abyss. ~ Thom Jurek