Label: Wharf Cat
Released: 25th March 2022
As brooding and uncompromising as a late-night underpass where the lights have gone out, Bambara have already got a name for themselves as a band with having something of the night about them and their stories from the dark side of life. ‘Love On My Mind’, a six track mini-album, sees them lean even heavily into that reputation and add even more texture to their story-telling.
Whether it’s referring to baby birds falling out of trees, a caveman afraid of fire, or junkies waiting for death, the beauty to be found in Reid Bateh’s lyrics lies in their poetry. Life is bleak, but his keen eye for the hidden detail makes it an intoxicating experience. Gone are the Gothic tales of ‘Stray’, replaced instead by personal explorations of vulnerability and internal pain. ‘Birds’ presents itself as a love song, of sorts, where romance is found in a couple watching planes land, wondering if they’ll make it. “They’ll either make it or they won’t” it shrugs. The additional vocals from Bria Salmena (Orville Peck) and Drew Citron (Public Practice) lend these songs a poignancy, different shades of darkness preventing it all becoming a little too oppressive.
‘Love On My Mind’ is a dark, dark record mood-wise. But that doesn’t make it one to shy away from, far from it. The rest of the band wear that darkness lightly, and tracks like ‘Feelin’ Like A Funeral’ feel like they could be defining moments for what comes next as they boldly careen and slam through musical concrete. This feels like the lights have been turned on to shine on something very special.