BAMBARA – ” Stray ” Best Albums Of 2020

Posted: April 25, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wcr 098 bambara stray %22firefly green%22 lp mock up for rough trade

The first thing that strikes you about Stray, Bambara’s fourth – and greatest – album to date, will be its pulverizing soundscape. By turns, vast, atmospheric, cool, broiling and, at times – on stand out tracks like Sing Me To The Street and Serafina – simply overwhelming. But “Stray” is not merely another, better entry in a catalogue full of darkly thrilling, blistering experimental rock-via-punk. Rather, early on in its conception the band made the decision to experiment with new compositions and song structures.

Bambara – made up of twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh, singer/guitarist and drummer respectively, and bassist William Brookshire – have been evolving their midnight-black noise into something more subtle and expansive ever since the release of their 2013 debut Dreamviolence. That process greatly accelerated on 2018’s Shadow On Everything, their first on Wharf Cat Records and a huge stride forward for the band both lyrically and sonically.

The resulting addition of backing vocals from Drew Citron (Public Practice) and Anina Ivory-Block (Palberta) create a hauntingly beautiful contrast to Bateh’s drunken baritone on tracks like Sing Me to the Street, Death Croons and Stay Cruel, while the Dick Dale-inspired guitar riffs on Serafina and Heat Lightning and the call-and-response choruses throughout the album showcase Bambara’s ability to write songs that immediately demand repeat listen.

To start, the band did what they always do: they locked themselves in their windowless Brooklyn basement to write. Decisions were made early on to try and experiment with new instrumentation and song structures, even if the resulting compositions would force the band to adapt their storied live set, known for its tenacity and technical prowess. Throughout the songwriting process, the band pulled from their deep well of creative references, drawing on the likes of Leonard Cohen, Ennio Morricone, Sade, classic French noir L’Ascenseur Pour L’Echafraud, as well as Southern Gothic stalwarts Flannery O’Connor and Harry Crews.

it would be wrong to characterize Stray as simply the sound of the graveyard. Light frequently streams through and, whether refracted through the love and longing found on songs like “Made for Me” or the fantastical nihilism on display in tracks like the anthemic “Serafina,” reveals this album to be the monumental step forward that it is. Here Bambara sound like they’ve locked into what they were always destined to achieve, and the effect is nothing short of electrifying.
Released February 14th, 2020

Bambara is Reid Bateh, Blaze Bateh and William Brookshire

Reid Bateh – Vocals, Guitar, Noise
Blaze Bateh – Drums, Percussion, Organ
William Brookshire – Bass, Synth, Piano
Ani Ivry-Block – Backing Vocals
Drew Citron – Backing Vocals
Adam Markiewicz – Violin
Sean Smith – Trumpet

These are just a few of the changes that reveal this album to be the monumental step forward that it is. Here Bambara finally sound like they’ve locked into what they were always destined to achieve, and the effect is nothing short of electrifying. For fans of Protomartyr, Daughters and IDLES.

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