Democracy in Portugal wasn't even a decade old when Heróis do Mar made their entrance on Lisbon's new music scene. In a post-Revolution panorama where most music came from (often) uninspired political-oriented singer-songwriters and any form of national pride was immediately labelled as "fascist" and "counter-revolutionary", a few guys decided to form a band that would not only praise the country's history and most prominent deeds, but also embrace a new sound, tentatively more innovative and not a mere copy of what was arriving from London and New York.

With their name itself a reference to national unity and pride ("heróis do mar" is the first line of the Portuguese national anthem), they were a source of both praise and outrage: with a shift towards a more electronic/new wave direction (a contrast with the folky singer-songwriters playing on the radio), eccentric clothes vaguely reminiscing of military uniforms, and - shock of shocks! - a Cross of Christ (commonly used in the Discoveries' ships) as their symbol, they came, saw, and conquered. Not without a great dose of controversy, though - the papers would frequently question them about their political views, and even when they vehemently denied any connections between their music and right-wing ideals, their shows were often boycotted (they never managed to book a gig in the South of the country, where the Communist Party had the strongest influence), and they received numerous death threats.

Their music, however, was a breath of fresh air within the Portuguese dull panorama. With their first self-titled album, a debut double A-side 'Brava Dança dos Heróis'/'Saudade', and subsequent single 'Amor', they conquered fans not only in their own country but also - if not especially - overseas. They were praised by French magazines Actuel and Rock&Folk as one of the most exciting acts around, and British publication The Face would go as far as calling them "the best European band of '83". Mixing creative electronica sounds with a touch of New Romantics and traditional instruments, Heróis do Mar relied on a solid aesthetic combined with a bunch of magnificent musicians.

Nevertheless, their career was short-lived. Although they lasted for about a decade, it became pretty clear with their second album, Mãe, that they wouldn't have a big enough audience to support their need for experimenting and evolving within their music. They faded away at the beginning of the '90s, with most of their members forming other musical projects.

If this is your first introduction to Heróis do Mar, allow yourself to embark on an amazing journey, a Vasco Da Gama-quest throughout one of the most important and influential Portuguese new wave bands of the '80s.

Tracklisting:

  • 'Amor (Parte I)'
  • 'Brava Dança dos Heróis'
  • 'Saudade'
  • 'Olhar no Oriente'
  • 'Mar Alto'
  • 'Magia Papoila'
  • 'Glória do Mundo'
  • 'Cachopa'
  • 'Paixão'
  • 'Alegria'
  • 'Só Gosto de Ti'
  • 'Supersticioso'
  • 'O Inventor'