Anyone who, while enjoying the more erstwhile recent releases Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, has been yearning for some of the old blood and thunder need look no further than the third LP from Brooklyn trio Bambara. A ‘Western Gothic’ album with a loose storyline, the likes of ‘Jose Tries To Leave’ wouldn’t sound out of place on From Her To Eternity or Let Love In. There’s also a nice Metz-y scree to the guitar tones. Out via Wharf Cat Records (Palberta, La Peste).
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I can’t remember how they were received at the time but I really liked Grinderman (I suppose that should be Nick Cave’s Grinderman, huh?). The combination of proper aggy blues rock and Nick Cave doing his thing but a bit more expressively worked wonders for me, as someone who has a pretty poor handle on subtlety. It’s this winning formula that Bambara have opted for on ‘Shadow On Everything’. Okay Nick Cave isn’t here, but frontman Reid Bateh is really selling that vibe. And you know what, why should deep voiced, sardonic delivery -- halfway between singing and speaking -- belong to just one man?
The instrumentals are post-punk that’s appropriately moody and gothic. The animals on the album artwork aren’t the only things that are galloping with the drums providing a persistent pulse to keep things in motion. And to round it out there’s even a bit of Ennio Morricone-ish guitar twang on here. ‘Backyard’ even has Reid doing a duet with a vocalist. To stop things getting too heavy, the track has two ambient interludes: ‘Night’s Changing’ and ‘Human Hair’. These move the music from a bass-entered lower register, to a higher one, acting as a palette cleanser, before plunging us back into the dark. Though they too are so imbued with drama, just of a different kind.
Other than those two pauses for breath, the album absolutely blazes forward, leaving everything behind it in its dust. And despite being so reminiscent of what is no doubt an influence, Bambara have enough swagger to earn their own space next door.
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- Shadow On Everything by Bambara
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