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Andy Gill

Perhaps reflecting the three years spent touring after their marvellous Music In Exile album, the excellent Resistance finds Malian desert-rockers Songhoy Blues forging firmer bonds between their native modes and Western styles. Opening track “Voter”, for example, yokes the nimble itchiness of their soukous-style guitars to a powerful rock riff, whilst the tribute to their homeland capital “Bamako” blends a Staple Singers guitar figure with a James Brown funk groove, over which vocals are bawled with punky intensity: a dizzying crossover of punch and power. Iggy Pop drops by on the desert-blues groove “Sahara” to cement the alliance, chipping in over the snaking, cyclical guitar interplay an amusing account of Western nations’ wariness about the region: “It seems unfriendly/There ain’t no condos, there ain’t no pizza/It’s a genuine culture, no Kentucky Fried Chicken”. Elsewhere, scuttling guitars predominate on tracks like “Badji” and “Ir Ma Sobay”, while Fela Kuti looms large over the Afrobeat drumming, burring brass and call-and-responce vocal of “Yersi Yadda”.

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Perhaps reflecting the three years spent touring after their marvellous Music In Exile album, the excellent Resistance finds Malian desert-rockers Songhoy Blues forging firmer bonds between their native modes and Western styles. Opening track “Voter”, for example, yokes the nimble itchiness of their soukous-style guitars to a powerful rock riff, whilst the tribute to their homeland capital “Bamako” blends a Staple Singers guitar figure with a James Brown funk groove, over which vocals are bawled with punky intensity: a dizzying crossover of punch and power. Iggy Pop drops by on the desert-blues groove “Sahara” to cement the alliance, chipping in over the snaking, cyclical guitar interplay an amusing account of Western nations’ wariness about the region: “It seems unfriendly/There ain’t no condos, there ain’t no pizza/It’s a genuine culture, no Kentucky Fried Chicken”. Elsewhere, scuttling guitars predominate on tracks like “Badji” and “Ir Ma Sobay”, while Fela Kuti looms large over the Afrobeat drumming, burring brass and call-and-responce vocal of “Yersi Yadda”.

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