BAMBARA – ” Stray ” Best Albums Of 2020

Posted: July 9, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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On Stray, the third full-length album from the sneering post-punk trio Bambara, the band is running on a full tank of fears that live inside all of humankind, invite death into the passenger seat with a canister full of kerosene, set the world ablaze, and watch it all burn with a lust as they inch closer and closer to an inevitable end. Since uprooting themselves from Athens to Brooklyn, lead vocalist and guitarist Reid Bateh, drummer Blaze Bateh and bassist William Brookshire have discretely entwined their debonaire southern gothic of their early work under the street lamps of big city streets, but ultimately, it’s the wild and reckless nature that thrives in the Big Apple at nighttime that has truly sparked a fire to ravage through flesh and soul here on their best effort to date yet yet.

Stray is also a modern day blueprint on how to resurrect tired motifs of death into rock music through a spiritual energy that never lets on as cliche. Credit that to Reid Bateh’s wicked hand at storytelling, as he colors Bambara’s hue of darkness with figures often mysterious, dangerous, and capable of a supernatural allure. Alongside his ‘mates, they splatter the canvas of their sound with their own blood as well as those they encounter. He does this all with damaged detail, like on “Miracle” where his muse writhes around a pole between the rolling bombast of brass and white hot neon in sleazy pace that feels like One Eyed Jacks’s doppelganger. On the full throttle trinity of “Heat Lightning”, “Serafina” and “Ben & Lily”, Bambara find bad company that adds an accelerant to their mix, surfing unhinged on razorblade riffs and pressing down the gas pedal in a way that bites into vice akin to their UK peers Idles.


When Bambara leaves nothingness to smoulder, the results can render a duality in their violent romanticism, be it heavently (”Made for Me”) or full of fire and brimstone (“Machete”.) Maybe it is the Devil who should be asking Bambara what he desires in exchange for whatever they’re harnessing, because as Stray professes, any work that finds its way through the shadows and can stare death straight in the eyes without flinching is on the level of some kind of unholy godliness.

The album, Stray (out on Feb. 14 via Wharf Cat Records),

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