Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Gal Costa

Released 0000 on ?
Reviewed by dj_dubious, 02/04/2001ce

Ahh those heady heady times indeed... This has got to be one of the most interesting artifacts of the late sixties trend of all pop to attempt to get "freaky"... What we have here is Gal Costa's first solo record.. recorded at the dawn of the newly emerging Tropicalia movement in Brazil.. and what a debut it is!

The first thing that grabs you is the intensity of the performances... everything is cranked.. everything is loud as hell... everything is played within an inch of its life... and its all played by some of the most naivly great musicians ever assembled... not sure if this actually the mighty Os Mutantes backin her as it often sounds a lil too good (though the Mutantes themselves often sound to good to be themselves!) but their crazy influence is stamoed all over it... I prefer to think this is really some bunch of pretty square session cats who've been instructed to get "heavy" and "freaky" and do it quick...
The drummer rises to the challenge like few I've ever heard... fill after fill after shity fill... crazy weirdass funky beats alll over the place... the fact that he misses beats ad hardly keeps time is irrelevant.. man he is freakin out!
The comes the bassist ...who's playing through some shitty hollow body of truely dubious origin so his tone is wobbly in extreme... and cranked to room shaking volume at all times... yeah.. thats the way to do it... somehow these two manage to completely ignore each other yet still form something resembling a "rhythm section"...
Noww on top of this someones got to play some guitar ... and man this guty was up for the challenge... he's obviously just gotten the first fuzztone in brazil (or built his own...) and he's determined to keep it cranked to max at ALL TIMES... can he play? Not really .. but imagine a world where the Troggs had time for 5 minute guitar solos played at ear splittin volumes and yer in the area... or better yet Pete Cosey being given free reign to just "play whatever you like" over some crazy garage band and yer gettin there.. it's that good!

so yeah somehow they also managed to graft some truely stunning string arangements over this as well... i'm sure thewre were some seriously ruffled brows on that session... and somehow it works too!

So now Gal's gotta try and sing over this insanity.. so what does she do? Well she screams and wails her ass off most of the time.. and when she's not screamin then she's visiting the mighty echo chamber fer a quick toke and some "freakiness" and do they ever visit the echo chamber... god even Lee Perry would consider throwing this much delay on a record excessive... Anyhow these are definatly some of the most "out" vocals ever recorded for a pop record ... one minute she's lulling you along in true Astrud Gilberto style then in a split second she's wailing away... almost Yoko esque in it's intensity but defiantly with more "vocal training"..

Personally I dig her second record a bit more as it's got more in the way of actual "songs" , less wailing and just an increased prettiness factor that leaves a tear in the eye... but this is definalty Gal's big rock record... not sure how many minds were actually melted but they certainly tried their hardest... and they try with an naive intensity that'll leave you floored ... If you dig the mighty Os Mutantes (specially their truelly wacked second album) then this'll definatly do it for you... somehow its both weirder and poppier but not quite as trippy (though believe me they tried!)... it treads a truely fine line between wacked out mellow pop (ala the Beach Boys at their most vegetable) with kitchen sink Faustian collages and a killer "just learned how to play this rock music" freshness that is totally unique unto this record... a truely essential artifact ...

Reviews Index