Throughout the almost eight year history of this site, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Bambara, and as you may recall, the trio, comprised of twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh and their childhood friend William Brookshire will be releasing their Andy Chugg-produced third, full length album Shadow on Everything later this week — and the album, which is their first for renowned indie label, Wharf Cat Records, reportedly represents a decisive step in a new direction for the band, with their sound moving from the noise rock and post-punk of their first two albums to incorporating a Western Gothic-inspired sound. And while the music center remains the trio’s tight and forceful rhythm section featuring Blaze Bateh’s frenzied yet incredibly metronomic drumming and Brookshire’s propulsive bass lines, unlike their previously recorded output, Shadow on Everything finds the band placing Reid Bateh’s vocals at the forefront, symbolically placing the damaged characters and seedy locales of his lyrics at center stage.
With the album’s first single ““Jose Tries to Leave,” the band retains the forceful and nightmarish dynamism that has won them attention here and elsewhere, but with a cinematic air, as it focuses on the lives and thoughts of desperate, fucked up and incredibly seedy sorts with a humanist’s sense of empathy and a novelist’s attention to psychological detail. “Doe-Eyed Girl,” the album’s second while continuing in a similar vein is imbued with a sweaty and furious urgency, fueled by manic and desperate obsession. Interestingly, Shadow on Everything‘s third and latest single “Sunbleached Skulls” is arguably one of the murkiest and bleakest songs of their growing catalog as Reid Bateh’s dark imagery centers around buzzing flies around sun-bleached bones, rotting flesh, dirt and grime paired with Brookshire’s propulsive bass and Blaze Bateh’s mathematically precise, metronomic drumming and shimmering bursts of Western guitar figures, seemingly writhing about in the dirt and grime; but underneath the bleak vibes and foul stenches of the song, there’s a strange sense of finding comfort and companionship in someone else, even if it’s fleeting. And much like its predecessor, the album’s single is incredibly cinematic track, that evokes a feverish and lingering nightmare.