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Bambara
Dog Ear Days
Emerald Weapon


During the opening track of Bambara's Dog Ear Days, "Repeat After Me", I'm excited. The song is a throwback to the noisy post-hardcore art-damage of classic D.C. bands like Rites Of Spring. Big drums, scratchy guitar noise, impassioned vocals screamed from painful heights.

Over the remaining 5 tracks my enthusiasm drops precipitously as the energy level falls off a cliff, the vocals are drowned in a muddy swamp of effects and noise, and the EP loses its footing entirely. "Drag Hesitation" starts the EP's downward spiral. Built around a droning piano riff, the drums and heavy-handed effects simply overpower the entire production. "Stay Gray" moves back into post-punk territory and is an entertaining diversion from the murk of the rest of the EP. The wheels come entirely off this cart with "Feed The Pigs" and "Swim With The Trees". Between the 2 there are nearly 10 minutes of instrumental noise. Both with droning background moaning and unintelligible spoken-word vocals that don't serve any useful purpose. The EP ends on a high-ish note with "Chiromancy" which splits the difference between the noisy post-punk and droning instrumentals of the rest of the album.

Bambara's saving grace is that there is good music buried under all the noise. With less heavy-handed production these guys are probably capable of an exceptional album. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the next one.

-George Dow

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Mike Doughty



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