BAMBARA – ” Stray ” Albums Of 2020

Posted: April 5, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , ,

One thing you won’t be able to avoid on Bambara’s “Stray” is death. It’s everywhere and inescapable. It would be wrong, however, to characterize the group’s fourth album as simply a dark and gloomy affair. The sonic landscape is varied, showcasing the band at both their heaviest and most nuanced, while the lyrics quickly go from the sublime to the surreal. It is undoubtedly their strongest statement yet.

Bambara released Straytheir full length fully Southern Gothic record. It’s 100% set in Georgia, which is teeming with gothic imagery according to the band. Everything from the moss to the family structures. A little before the album came out we met up to take some pictures at The Broadway, the most Brooklyn place there is. The Bateh brothers Reid and Blaze and their fellow Georgian William Brookshire blend in perfectly well here, but there’s something about them that doesn’t scream  maybe quietly creaks like floorboards warped by a humid southern summer that tells you they’re coming from somewhere else.

The album itself is intricate and precise, each song a chapter telling another character’s part in the bigger story. It could come off a little theatrical if you’re not used to it but that’s kind of the whole point. There’s nothing more dramatic than death, and this record is death-obsessed, mainly dark but never dull. The characters were created in a concentrated bout of writing, with Reid calling away from work and submerging himself in this place he was creating. That frantic energy comes out on track 2, “Heat Lightning,” after a super moody opener, “Miracle.” From there it takes you wherever the characters need to go.

“Heat Lightning” was the 3rd single released by Brooklyn-based post-punk band Bambara from their 4th LP, Stray. Formed in Georgia by brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh, Bambara trailed their southern roots to the streets of Brooklyn in 2009. The intoxicating noise of the city streets seems to feel right at home to the group as they find a certain sort of comfort in the claustrophobia of metropolitan life. A quiet city at night feels much more eerie than peaceful, and Bambara is able to capture this sort of darkness in the way they know best – noise.

Reid’s voice is almost evocative of Protomartyr’s Joe Casey and fills it with Girl Band’s anxiety, the darkness of Daughters, and the cinematic sensibilities of The Murder Capital. However, these comparisons all render meaningless because Bambara is uniquely their own in this increasingly saturated landscape of post-punk bands.

Bringing listeners to a realm of their own design, Bambara sets a listener on edge and fills them with adrenaline at the same time. Rather than being set in a New York landscape, the group distances you from reality and into a gothic western. Incredibly dark with slow, droning lyrics on top of a sinister, fast-paced guitar and a western-tinged twang makes “Heat Lightning” cinematic in a way that sends chills down your spine.

Bambara knows how to tell a story and listening becomes a fully immersive experience. The band’s lyrics are darker than they have ever been, focusing on the motif of death. In this track, Death becomes a character, spouting wisdom that rips apart the idea that everything can be explained. It becomes clear that Death is talking directly to you and dread inches through your body with every note. The consequential air of mystery and coldness leaves listeners wanting even more of the stories Bambara is telling, and to experience this haunting realm once more.

Unfold the rest of the mystery on February 14th when Stray is released on Wharf Cat Records.

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