“THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY” – A SHORT SERIES OF 2014 ALBUM REVIEWS THAT NEVER SAW THE LIGHT OF DAY, FOR SOME REASON.
THEIR SIXTH ALBUM, but the first to swap their Malian home away from home for Joshua Tree, California, Emmaar finds the Saharan desert band pretty much doing what they’ve always done: crank out compellingly dry, mostly slowly grooving rhythms that sound for all the world like they’re inventing bluesy rock and roll as a North African art form.
It gets off to a ropey start with poet Saul Williams guesting on a well-meaning but hammy narration, but thereafter, despite the appearance of a Red Hot Chili Pepper and a Nashville fiddlestick exponent, it simply sounds like Tinariwen.
Fans of Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure will recognise much in the recording’s raw imprint, but nothing sounds quite like Tinariwen, the ubiquitous ambassadors of Timbuktu. That the lyrics (printed in English in the accompanying booklet) are laced with radical political invective simply adds extra depth of meaning to their trance-like rhythms. Gary Steel
Sound = 4/5
Music = 4/5