Posts Tagged ‘Shadow On Everything’

Reissue of Bambara’s “Shadow On Everything“, released in 2018 to widespread critical acclaim, the album represented a decisive step forward for twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh – frontman and drummer, respectively – and their childhood friend, bassist William Brookshire.

Bambara is a grimy noise-rock band whose release “Shadow on Everything” is a cinematic achievement. The loose concept record mashes cowboy jangle with aggressive post-punk to form a scummy, empty landscape for characters to inhabit. Laced throughout is a winding, poetic tale of relationship strife and vignettes from the character’s hometown.

While prior to its release they had always been adept students of noise rock and post-punk, mining the work of bands like Swans and The Birthday Party to construct what NPR called “beautifully dynamic nightmares,” on “Shadow On Everything”, they boldly redefined their sound to create an album that clearly transcended their early influences and dramatically quickened the pace of their ascent from the underground. Consistent with their frenetic live set, the musical centre of Shadow On Everything is Bambara’s impossibly tight rhythm section, with Blaze’s manic drumming and William’s rock-steady bass-lines serving as the perfect canvas for Reid’s wild guitar squalls and howled vocals.

But the album’s recording marked the first time that Reid’s voice was pushed to the front of the mix, highlighting the damaged characters and seedy locales that interact and overlap throughout its 12 songs. A stridently experimental record, Shadow features everything from violin to saxophone arrangements, and is meticulously interspersed with outré ambient noise loops distilled down from hours of manipulated vocal collages.

Just two years after its release Shadow On Everything may seem like it was the logical next step for a band with experimental and punk origins that would go on to construct the intricate compositions displayed by its follow up Stray. In fact, Shadow On Everything  memorialises Bambara putting everything on the line, because they knew they could be more than what anyone may have seen in them up to that point in time.

Released 26th March 2021 Wharf Cat Records

Shadow On Everything, is the third LP by Bambara and their first for Wharf Cat Records, represents a decisive step forward for the NYC-via-Georgia trio. Frontman Reid Bateh, drummer Blaze Bateh, and bassist William Brookshire have always been adept students of noise rock and post-punk, mining the work of bands like Swans and The Birthday Party to construct what NPR called their “beautifully dynamic nightmares.” Now, they’ve transcended their early influences to produce a Western Gothic concept album that sounds as big as the desert sky looming over its characters’ lives.

This is Gothic piece of Americana with many echoes of Nick Cave’s early work – seedy characters; tragic, violent tales; pulsating, writhing guitars. this is the type of rock album that comes along only once in a very long time.

As with all previous Bambara releases, the musical center of Shadow on Everything is its impossibly tight rhythm section. Blaze’s frenzied yet metronomic drumming and William’s prominent bass lines have plenty of personality on their own, but they also provide a perfect canvas for Reid’s wild guitar squalls and howled vocals. While Reid’s lyrics have always been a critical part of Bambara’s songs, his voice is pushed to the front of the mix on Shadow, placing his damaged characters and seedy locales at center stage. A stridently experimental record, Shadow features everything from violin to saxophone arrangements, and is meticulously interspersed with outré ambient noise loops distilled down from hours of manipulated vocal collages that the band sifts through to find the perfect textures. 

The production by Andy Chugg (Pop. 1280, Pill) is crisp and clear, giving life to the band’s decision to foreground the vocals, but it splashes enough darkness on the songs to help them retain their pitch-black atmosphere. By far Bambara’s most ambitious album, Shadow On Everything shows a band operating at absolute peak creativity and execution. 

Bambara has performed as a five-piece since Reid broke his hand on stage in 2016. Their pummeling and unpredictable live set has made them favorites on both under- and above-ground circuits in New York City, having impressed noise-pop auteur Angus Andrew to the extent that he asked Reid and Blaze to join Liars as members on 2017’s worldwide tour. Additionally, Bambara has toured the US and Europe extensively alongside the likes of Liars, Metz, Girl Band, APTBS, Algiers and more.
Released April 6th, 2018