Shadow On Everything, the third LP by Bambara and their first for Wharf Cat Records, represents a huge leap forward for the NYC-via-Georgia trio. Frontman Reid Bateh, drummer Blaze Bateh, and bassist William Brookshire have always been adept students of the histories of noise rock and post-punk, mining the work of bands like Swans and The Birthday Party. Now, they've transcended their early influences to produce a Western Gothic concept album that sounds as big as the desert sky that looms over its characters' lives. While Reid's lyrics have always been a critical part of Bambara's songs, his voice is pushed to the front of the mix on Shadow On Everything.
As with all previous Bambara releases, the musical center is its impossibly tight rhythm section. Blaze's frenzied yet metronomic drumming and William's muscular bass lines have plenty of personality on their own, but they also provide a perfect canvas for Reid's wild guitar squalls and howled vocals. The production by Andy Chugg (Pop. 1280, Pill) is crisp and clear, giving life to the band's decision to foreground the vocals, but it splashes enough darkness on the songs to help them retain their pitch-black atmosphere. Shadow On Everything is a stridently experimental record and Bambara's most ambitious, finding the band operating at absolute peak creativity and execution.