BAMBARA – ” Mythic Love “

Posted: October 13, 2021 in MUSIC
Tags: , ,
May be an image of 1 person, sitting, outdoors and brick wall

Bambara have announced “Love On My Mind”, a six-song mini-LP that will be out February 25th via Wharf Cat. If the start of the breakthrough for Bambara was the radically reimagined sound of 2018’s “Shadow On Everything” (dubbed by NPR a “western gothic opus”), then the moment it truly arrived was on the cinematically riotous noir-punk of 2020’s “Stray”. In the UK, buoyed by the enthusiasm of 6Music DJ Steve Lamacq (who called the band, “one of his favourite discoveries of the year”), the band rose sharply, immediately selling out shows across the country. Meanwhile, back in their native US, KEXP’s John Richards echoed the same sentiment. Things were set. In fact, tickets had just gone on sale for their biggest show to date, a 1500 cap headliner at London’s Electric Ballroom. Then…well, then same as for everyone. Shutdown, lockdown, hibernation, nothing. It was a hammer blow. But rather than rue their misfortune, the band desperately tried to turn it into a positive, immediately moving to try to make more, and they were determined better, music.

The result is the career-high ‘Love On My Mind’ – a six song mini-album, mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer that condenses all the energy and darkness that has made Bambara so compelling but rearranges them into something defiantly new. Not that getting there was easy. With the band’s core (twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh, the singer and drummer, and childhood friend William Brookshire, bass) scattered across the US, they remotely pieced together an EP but as soon as it was finished, they scrapped it. In their words, it felt “dishonest”. They were striving for something new and they hadn’t hit the mark.

Here’s the storming, smoky first single.

They realized they needed to change approach so at that point they decided to reconvene in New York. Finally, things started to take shape. By now, they had a better idea of where they wanted to head. They knew they wanted to include a couple of duets and enlisted the vocals of Bria Salmena (Orville Peck/Frigs) and Drew Citron (Public Practice). They also wanted to expand their sound palette so turned to Jason Disu and Jeff Tobias (Sunwatchers) to add trombone and saxophone respectively. They recorded again, utilizing all these new elements, sampling their recordings as they went along, in the process manipulating the sounds across the EP.

May be an image of 1 person

The final result is something astonishing. Opening track, “Slither in the Rain,” all hissing high-hat and spectral synthlines, is a true statement of intent. It’s minimal and atmospheric, foregrounding Bateh’s raw vocals as he introduces one of ‘Love On My Mind’s main characters, years after the events of the album are over, a lonely man who throws bottles at airplanes and dances a two-step in the pattern of a figure-8. While Bateh has always been adept at character sketches, here we are introduced to a newfound vulnerability that runs true through the entire album and causes the songs to hit on a more human level. It’s a change he readily acknowledges. It all just contributes to the picture of something truly special. ‘Love on My Mind’ is another massive step forward for Bambara. This time though, absolutely nothing’s going to stop them following through on it.

Released On Wharf Cat Records

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.