(City Slang)

This Tuareg quintet has been gaining recognition on the world music scene since their self-titled debut in 2016. With the exception of one track, the band made this album in a studio they built in their home city of Tamanrasset, in Southern Algeria. While they draw on the style of Tuareg rock pioneered by Tinariwen in the early ’90s, they put their own spin on it. They are known as a rock quartet, but the music here has a low-key, hypnotic pulse, balanced between bright acoustic and subtle electric guitars, accented by stirring vocal harmonies and restrained percussive touches.

As before, the album features collaborations with fellow artists, lifting the band’s appealing melodies and rhythmic interplay to a new level. Acoustic guitars, sparse percussion and the vocals of lead singer Iyad Moussa Ben Abderrahmane (aka Sadam) quietly introduce “Achinkad (The Gazelle),” before the band jumps in with crackling electric guitars and enthusiastic whoops.

Sudanese singer Sulafa Elyas shares lead vocals with Sadam on “Taghadart (Betrayal),” a song she co-wrote. It’s an intense acoustic number describing the desolation created by infidelity. Welsh guitarist Gruff Rhys sings lead on “Adar Newlan (The Blazing Rocks).” It’s a funky low-key rocker, with a flamenco flavored rhythm created by clapping hands. The tempo slowly accelerates to bring the album to a satisfying close.

On Sale Now
July 2022
Sean Jones
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