Dirtmusic - Troubles
Moody desert rock numbers drift aimlessly whilst funk-rock and West African rhythms fusion fails to spark
Dirtmusic are among the latest western musicians to be drawn to the mesmeric and powerful sound of Saharan desert rock. 2010's BKO saw them collaborate with the Tuareg band Tamikrest, and Troubles is the result of jam sessions with Malian musicians on the dancefloor of Salif Keita's Moffou Club in Bamako. Something was clearly lost in the transition from club to studio, for most of the tracks here are distinctly lacking in spontaneity. The moody desert rock numbers drift aimlessly, while the tepid fusions of funk-rock and West African rhythms fail to spark. With excellent singers like Samba Toure and Zoumana Tereta involved, it is a mystery why the core duo of Chris Eckman (The Walkabouts) and Hugo Race (The Bad Seeds) bothered stepping to the microphone. Eckman's earnest half-whispers are faintly ridiculous, while Race's impersonation of that overrated ham Nick Cave on the slick reggae number 'Trouble' is quite unpleasant.