May 8, 2013


Emerald Weapon/Arrowhawk

In a conversation with Flagpole in March of this year, Bambara's Blaze Bateh credited the literal filth that surrounds the band's Brooklyn headquarters as an inspiration for its most recent material. DREAMVIOLENCE, which is out now digitally via the band's Emerald Weapon imprint and will be released on vinyl via Athens' Arrowhawk Records in June, is a shit-stained ode to desperation, alienation and the stubbornly sleazy bits of New York City that still exist.

The press release for DREAMVIOLENCE mentions Metz, Swans and Iceage, and Bambara's noisy assault doesn't fall far from any of those trees. But the band owes the greatest debt, perhaps, to mid-period Liars; the foreboding rhythm that characterized that group's brilliant Drum's Not Dead LP shows up in spades on tunes like opener "All the Same" and "Train Daze," which feel both claustrophobic and immense.

Bambara does a whole mess of things well, and the most exciting thing about DREAMVIOLENCE is its unwillingness to stick to a single script. "All the Same" starts as a punishing drum assault and ends in lush, gorgeous denouement. The new wave-y "Nail Polish" is hooky as hell; it could be a bonafide pop single if it weren't slathered so thickly with sonic grease. The two-song set that closes the record, "Blonde" and "Disappear," eschews rhythm in favor of a terrifying calmness.

The album's production helps to tie everything together and also adds an impenetrable extra layer of grime; the brutal noise bursts on songs like "Bird Calls" conjure up hellish visions of fire and brimstone—and Brooklyn. 5 out of 5.