The history of American culture, specifically that of the West and the South, has a rather grim and haunting underside to it, the attempts to wash the blood from our hands becoming increasingly futile with every reverberant shock offered up by daily news headlines. For the simple sake of absolution, the masses try to ignore their bleak ancestry, but not Brooklyn trio (sometimes quartet, sometimes quintet) Bambara. Their music evokes the spirit of a land plagued by violence and oppression, lest the rest of us forget. Their new single, “José Tries To Leave,” off their forthcoming sophomore album Shadow On Everything, is a theatrical embodiment of the stagnant state of the “dead end” town in America, and its microcosm for the inability to change.
A wailing haze reverberates like the incessant winds on the plains during a Depression sandstorm, while Blaze Bateh’s drumming throbs on with the shaky unease of a caravan’s wheels treading over desert dust. Strikes of guitar harmonics gleam like heat lightning off in the distance while Reid Bateh utters his tale of Faulknerian hopelessness. The melody and hum of William Brookshire’s bass instill the anxiety of futile struggle, of the frantic desire to escape from something inescapable. And anyone with a head on their shoulders these days feels the same, the horrid pangs of desperation, for want of transformation. The track is a Western Gothic drama in and of itself, emanating the same degree of longing as its literary counterparts, perhaps creating its very own Yoknapatawpha County.
Shadow On Everything is out April 6 Via Wharf Cat Records.