Songhoy Blues – Résistance
We loved album number one, but Malian desert blues quartet Songhoy Blues have outdone themselves on its follow up, Résistance.
If you’re unfamiliar with the band’s music, know that this isn’t your standard 12-bar fare; elements of reggae, funk, soul and even a little punk rock abound on the record. But the one thing you must know if that Songhoy Blues’ guitar mastery is, as always, front and centre of every song.
Just like the last one, this is a killer guitar record. The playing is unreal and, while taking cues from a number of great rock’n’roll guitarists of the past, it doesn’t sound like anyone else. Heavily rhythmic, technical, but still musical, this band is built around those six strings.
Résistance is a jubilant record a lot of the time. The hypnotic beats are always lively, the communal vocals are spirited and those interlocking guitar lines are as playful as they are spellbinding.
The heavy groove of ‘Bamako’ is a brilliant example of the band’s handle on modern psych-soul, the laidback ‘Alhakou’ is infectious, and the surprising addition of fiddle lends an extra jaunty element to ‘Hometown’.
If you’re not expecting him, it’s actually quite funny to hear Iggy Pop pop up on ‘Sahara’. His vocal here isn’t anywhere near the best thing on the record – Elf Kid’s guest verse on ‘Mali Nord’ is far more affecting – but it’s nice to have him involved all the same.
There’s no reason that Songhoy Blues won’t find a bigger audience with album number two. While it’s not all that different to their first full-length, it is better, and if they continue that trend for a while then we can look forward to plenty of great jams to come.