Tamikrest just continue to delight. This, their fourth album, takes the bands talents into new zones and while it is unmistakably Tamikrest their music has developed incredibly.

The music is still firmly rooted in the desert, evoking mental images of distant landscapes but adding to their grab-bag a more rocking element that hits the spot square on.

The album was recorded in Bamako, Mali’s capital city, but the title of the album refers to the village where they first met, Kidal. They have said before that life was difficult in the desert camps where they grew together and the album definitely feels as though it is telling their story.

The history of the Tuaregs would take a lot more than this review to tell but suffice to say that after the Tuaregs declared an independent state, Azawad, they were first attacked by Al Quaeda and then by the French military leaving them still searching for their individual national identity. This searching is something you can hear deep in the DNA of the music on ‘Kidal’.

Musically, they have grown a more personal identity, moving away from the sounds of Tinariwen – to whom they have often been compared – and into a more compact and less trance-like sound.
Tracks such as ‘Wainan Adobat’ have a harder edge to them, some superb guitar playing and emotional singing, driving rhythms and passion all through but if you are looking for passion then you get it in huge handfuls on ‘Atwitas’ along with some stunning guitar and incredibly dark mood.

It is difficult to stress just how good this album is. The playing is grown up and they have clearly learned from the many artists they have payed with in the last five or six years but the songwriting has also grown, the structuring of the songs is better and there is less reliance on ‘tribal’ sounds. Production from Mark Mulholland is another added joy and he manages to create a vast soundscape with the band spread across all of it.

A band whose talents just grow by leaps and bounds and a great album.

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