Comprised of founding trio, twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh and their childhood friend William Brookshire, JOVM mainstays Bambara initially formed in Athens, GA and as you may recall, after they relocated to Brooklyn, where they recorded their full-length debut DREAMVIOLENCE, the trio exploded into the national scene, thanks in part to a punishing, shoegaze and noise rock-inspired sound that drew comparisons to A Place to Bury Strangers, Weekend, and others. However, with 2016’s sophomore effort, Swarm, the trio’s sound increasingly incorporated elements of stark, New York hardcore punk and thrash punk centered around Reid Bateh’s lyrics describing life in a stark, grimy, merciless city, full of neurotic, unhinged and deeply unstable characters trying to survive with whatever dignity, decency and shred of their own sanity they have remaining. And as a result, the album’s material possessed a tense, bristling fury.
Slated for an April 6, 2018 release, the Brooklyn-based trio’s forthcoming, third, full-length Andy Chugg-produced Shadow on Everything is their first for Wharf Cat Records, and it reportedly represents a decisive step forward with the band transcending the early noise rock and post-punk that has long inspired them — with the new album being a Western Gothic concept album. And while the musical center still remains the trio’s tight rhythm section featuring Blaze Bateh’s frenzied yet metronomic drumming and Brookshire’s sinuous bass lines, which allow space for Reid Bateh’s squalling, feedback tinged guitar and howled vocals; however, where Reid Bateh’s vocals were buried in the mix for their previously recorded output, Shadow on Everything finds his vocals pulled towards the front, symbolically placing the damaged characters and seedy locales of his lyrics directly on the proverbial center stage. Additionally, the album finds the members of Bambara expanding upon their sound and instrumentation as it features violin and cornet arrangements with the material interspersed with ambient noise loops distilled down from hours of manipulated vocal collages the band shifted through to find the perfect texture.
Although “Jose Tries to Leave,” Shadow on Everything‘s first single features shimmering, almost Spaghetti Western-like guitar work paired with a propulsive and forceful rhythm section consisting of Blaze Bateh’s metronomic and thunderous drumming and Brookshire’s angular bass chords but unlike any of their previous work, the new single has a cinematic (and dramatic) air, capturing the lives and thoughts of desperate and seedy souls with both a novelist’s attention to psychological detail and empathy — but just underpinning the whole affair is a murky sense of menace and murder just around the corner.