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14 Bis portrait Out of the ashes of the psychedelic-gone-prog rock band O Terco, songwriter Flavio Venturini formed the group 14 Bis, which had similarly proggy tendencies, but was more commercially oriented. A lot of their stuff is just awful, but some is kinda cool. Joining Venturini in the original lineup were keyboard player Vermelho and drummer Hely Rodrigues, formerly of the tropicalia band, Bendego... (Historical note: the band 14 Bis took its name from an early airplane that was designed by a Brazilian engineer living in France.) Anyhoo, here's a quick look at the band...


14 Bis "14 Bis" (EMI, 1979)
I was first introduced to this band via the Serie Bis collection (reviewed below), and thought, jeez, these guys are so godawful, wretchedly bad, I will never, ever, need to think about them ever again. Well, a couple of years later I tracks this album down and bought it at a bargain, and man, was I surprised. It's very atypical of Brazilan rock, a modern album produced at the height of the punk/new wave scenes abroad, with plenty of proggy influences, bringing to mind bands such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, or even some of the more adventurous new-wavers who came later in the decade. The Moog synths and high, falsetto-laden harmonies are actually kind of nice, the music is oddly wispy and engaging. I can see why many Brazilians wouldn't like this record, although modern, irony-inclined indie rockers might get a real kick out of it. I would hesitate to call this a "lost classic" or anything as corny as that, but you Death Cab For Cutie fans might want to check this out. (By the way, I have them filed under "Fourteen..." but Brazilians index this band under Q: "Quatorze Bis.")

14 Bis "14 Bis II" (EMI, 1980)

14 Bis "Espelho Das Aguas" (EMI, 1981)
Flavio Venturini was the guiding light behind this band, having previously formed the prog-rock outfit, O Terco, with guitarist Vinicius Cantuaria and other forward-looking Brazilian rockers. Turns out 14 Bis were better than their lamentably yucky best-of collections would have us believe... On this disc, their third album, things are starting to sour and the steer towards a flatter, generic pop-rock sound, yet it's enjoyable in a tacky, campy kind of way. It's not a great record, but still worth checking out to get a sense of the breadth of New Wave-ish experimentation that was going on in Brazil at the time.

14 Bis "Alem Paraiso" (EMI, 1982)

14 Bis "A Idade Da Luz" (EMI, 1984)

14 Bis "A Nave Vai" (EMI, 1985)

14 Bis "Sete" (EMI, 1987)

14 Bis "Ao Vivo" (EMI, 1988)

14 Bis "Quatro Por Quatro" (EMI, 1992)

14 Bis "Siga O Sol" (Velas, 1996)

14 Bis "Acustico" (Polygram, 1998)

14 Bis & Boca Livre "Ao Vivo" (Universal-Indie, 2000)

14 Bis "Outros Planos" (Universal-Indie, 2004)


14 Bis "Meus Momentos" (EMI, 1992)

14 Bis "Serie Bis" (EMI, 2000)
Ye gods. This may be the single worst, most godawful Brazilian album I have ever heard. I think they were trying to be the Brazilian version of Flock of Seagulls; it would be extremely charitable to compare them favorably to America, Bread or Ah-Ha... if you get my drift. Apparently this band was founded in 1976 by some former members of the '70s prog band, O Terco... This 2-CD set has 28 songs, recorded between 1979-92... and there isn't a single track on here I will ever need to hear again. Next!

14 Bis "Para Sempre" (EMI, 2004)

14 Bis "Retratos" (EMI, 2004)

14 Bis "Serie Sem Limite" (EMI, 2006)


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