Bambara - Love on My Mind Music Album Reviews

The Brooklyn post-punk band’s latest is a novella-like EP whose shoegaze blur and metallic twang animate a dreamlike world of seedy characters and half-forgotten pasts.

Bambara sit at the heart of an American triangulation—birthplace in Athens, Georgia, operations in Brooklyn, punk blues worthy of 1970s California. Appropriately, the band’s conceit encompasses a wide-spanning, grotesque vision of Americana. Their stories are self-contained, recursive gothic narratives with butterfly-effect surreality: 2018’s Shadow on Everything explored the fallout of an accidental disembowelment in a fictional Western town, and 2020’s Stray traced the supernatural, generational scars left in the wake of a long-dead Southern eunuch. The fiction of Bambara’s latest EP, Love on My Mind, strikes closer to home—set within New York City, its violent heart takes the form of a bloodless breakup narrated with bitter omnipotence.

Since 2008, Bambara have reined nigh-unintelligible noise into something more artfully restrained, but the wildness remains intact, and it buoys frontman Reid Bateh’s dark storytelling. When the band reaches for a shoegaze tone, it acts more as physical weight than airy padding—tangibly metallic, like Preoccupations’ “Continental Shelf.” Skillful discordance washes over closer “Little Wars,” drenching the tortured duet between Bateh and Drew Citron, bassist of fellow Brooklyn post-punks Public Practice. Across their discography, Bambara have seemed to understand the power of the female voice to counterbalance Bateh’s scowls: When Citron sings, her falsetto delicately pleading, “Wash this filthy city from your skin with me/We’ll cut our hair and burn our things and leave by spring,” you can feel something wordlessly waver. Bateh’s resentful narrator seems to hesitate, and by its denouement, the song no longer feels so hostile. Lead single “Mythic Love,” which pairs Bateh with FRIGS’ Bria Salmena, follows the same formula: The duo’s impassioned exchange invokes the rawness of a duet between Peter Peter and Lydia Lunch, but carries itself with a cowpunk ​​suavity, the same swaying coolness that threads together opener “Slither in the Rain” and closer “Little Wars.”

Bateh approaches his work with the formality of an author—even his lyric sheets are formatted in the style of a novel, rather than poetry. Recurring elements bleed across the tracklist and confer a dreamlike continuity: doves with broken necks, the camera at the heart of “Point and Shoot,” the scattered photographs it produces. Similarly, a series of bizarre, O’Connor-esque characters litter the pages. The memory of an old friend sleepwalks through parties like a “junkie Lady Macbeth”; the narrator snaps a picture of a homeless man wreathed in a crown of MetroCards and derisively dubs him the “King of New York.” Most scenes play out in abstract flashback: Love on My Mind itself opens long after the chronological events of the EP conclude, its narrator reduced to a pathetic “godhead of the two-step” as he drunkenly dances alone, trapped in a city that mocks him. His long-lost love interest is hidden behind the protective lens of her camera, and though he proclaims his affection for her, when he recalls her speaking, it’s always in the context of death: the quiet confession of, “‘When you’re asleep, sometimes I check your pulse,’” or the callous observation in, “One night, we saw a Boeing trailing flames/And you said, ‘They make it or they don’t.’”

Post-punk seems to draw a particularly verbose kind of confession: the close-teethed anthology of the Birthday Party’s Rowland S. Howard and Nick Cave, the sprechgesang of the Fall’s Mark E. Smith and his manifold imitators, Bambara’s fellow revelers in the profane and grotesque like Protomartyr and Diät. But while Bateh’s storytelling sounds as vivid as if he’d lived it, Love on My Mind remains grounded in narrative. The ugliness isn’t only misanthropic; the author’s care for his subjects shines through every word. The EP’s narrator, after all, returns to approach that vagabond King of New York, begging for forgiveness and wisdom. When Bambara hold out a story at arm’s length, they weave something more mythically admissive.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Bambara - Love on My Mind Music Album Reviews Bambara - Love on My Mind Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 11, 2022 Rating: 5


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