5

Robin Denselow

It’s 12 years now since Amadou and Mariam suddenly became celebrities, thanks largely to Manu Chao’s production work on the bestselling Dimanche à Bamako. The blind Malians went on to play at rock festivals and perform for Barack Obama, but have never quite matched the freshness and exuberance of that masterful album. Now comes their first full set of new songs in five years, dominated by the input of French producer Adrien Durand. La Confusion includes some fine, distinctive work featuring powerful vocals from each of the duo, but they lose their edge thanks to the over-use of keyboards and electronica, with Amadou’s guitar sadly under-employed. The album is patchily impressive, from the driving, funky opening of Diarra, to the bluesy start of Massah Allah, but both ease off into more predictable, bland territory. I suspect the new material will sound far more exciting performed live.

...

It’s 12 years now since Amadou and Mariam suddenly became celebrities, thanks largely to Manu Chao’s production work on the bestselling Dimanche à Bamako. The blind Malians went on to play at rock festivals and perform for Barack Obama, but have never quite matched the freshness and exuberance of that masterful album. Now comes their first full set of new songs in five years, dominated by the input of French producer Adrien Durand. La Confusion includes some fine, distinctive work featuring powerful vocals from each of the duo, but they lose their edge thanks to the over-use of keyboards and electronica, with Amadou’s guitar sadly under-employed. The album is patchily impressive, from the driving, funky opening of Diarra, to the bluesy start of Massah Allah, but both ease off into more predictable, bland territory. I suspect the new material will sound far more exciting performed live.

Share this!