Bambara

Shadow on Everything

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Brooklyn-via-Atlanta trio Bambara play a dark, menacing brand of noisy post-punk filled with pummeling drums and lacerating guitar noise. The group sound chaotic and possessed, yet their musicianship is remarkably controlled and precise, even if their music is the soundtrack to a world falling apart at the seams. Reid Bateh, the band's vocalist and guitarist, spits out sour, poetic lyrics about despicable, desperate characters and unspeakable nighttime scenes, matching the nightmarish atmosphere of the music. He wails his verses in a loose, drunken slur, resembling one of the barflies and degenerates which populate his lyrics. Shadow on Everything is the band's third proper album, and the first to foreground Bateh's vocals, which had previously been obscured underneath the sheets of noise. This adds an elevated sense of urgency to the group's attack, making it easy to get absorbed in Bateh's bleak narratives. Similarly, the band, on the whole, sound clearer and bolder, with greater rhythmic control and more of a dynamic range. They segue effortlessly between sleazy rockabilly stomping, psychotic surf thrash, and lonesome Spaghetti Western guitar riffs, with skronking saxophones and sinister strings adding some additional tension and tonal color. There are also a few dips into dark ambiance, continuing the group's fascination with unsettling loops and textures, and even these interludes sound more focused than similar passages on their earlier efforts. Clearly a step up for Bambara, Shadow on Everything is a disorienting thrill ride, taking the listener on a guided tour of the darkest recesses of the night.

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