If the din coming from a concert venue, a Korg synth, and military radio signals had a child, it would be Bambara‘s latest album, Dreamviolence. The band have released 13 tracks of noise rock to the world, presumably with the intention of making themselves heard and definitely succeeding at it.
A first run-through may be an aural Rubik’s Cube for the off-guard listener. The opener “All the Same” could be a zombie cricket’s anthem or a shoegazer’s wet dream. Muddy vocals are sparse throughout the songs, and when they do show up, they are nearly illegible and uttered over dense instrumentals. Lyrics are not an important aspect of the band’s sound, so one is forced to pick out melodies from the mire of noise going on. The rapid-fire “Divine Teeth” sounds like a mashup of Battles and the Hives, painting an eerie soundscape of ghostly pitches. It is unclear what the band is going for; their single “Nail Polish” is a nightmarish blur of garage rock rotating around a cutting bassline and synthesized chaos.
At some points the band veer into alternate soundtrack territory (a la X-Ray Dog), such as “Young Mother,” where a cinematic element is certainly present. Though short, the tune could suit a teaser trailer for an avant-garde film perfectly. “Breaker” flows through several states of music, beginning with what one would expect from the band but leading into a hushed interlude, a lengthy ambient section, then back to the trademark sludge. “Bar” is surprisingly tender for the band’s sound, opening with a relaxed acoustic. It could be considered the ballad of the album––or at least a more gentle offering from the act.
Sometimes in Dreamviolence the actual music is shrouded by a murky cloud of decibels (“Bird Calls”), but at other points the band let loose their synth and brainstorm alternate universes of broken cities (“Blonde”). The band’s overall goal soundwise is ambiguous and hidden. The noise rock fan of Big Black or Dinosaur Jr. will find something to love, but the more average listener may not correctly dissect the layers of music happening at any given time. This is thinking man’s music for sure, but the kind of thought involved is questionable.