Bedouin Soundclash - Root Fire
With the recent success and critical acclaim of Sounding a Mosaic (and the hit single it spawned – When The Night Feels My Song), Bedouin Soundclash's first album is finally being released in this country (although it has been available on import for some time). Bedouin Soundclash provide a breath of fresh air in the current climate of soundalike indie drivel. Fresh is infact a great way to describe the whole sound of Root Fire, it's light and airy with everything in the right place. Forget thick piledrivers of sonic drudgery, this is sparse and sharp exquisite melodies over a bedding of reggae and funk inspired down to earth grooves.
Having seen the band live I'm always amazed that a mere three men can create such a spinetingling and diverse sound. Despite the fact that the guitar parts are sparse and the drums are subtle the sound is still full and intriguing, you realise there is a lot more going on than you first heard. This is partly due to the very open production, no time is wasted with fancy synths or tricks, everything is bare and on show. It lets you really get into the music as if you were in the studio with them. There is a raw honesty that runs through the whole CD and you feel you can really get at the heart and the soul of the music itself without being sidetracked by modern trickery. It helps then, that all three musicians (and I say musicians, rather than manufactured pop drones) are talented and unique, each bringing something to the band as a whole.
For those of you that have heard their second album Root Fire is a bit different. Put simply it's more 'rootsy', there's less of a ska vibe and more of an acoustic folk feel. That doesn't mean that this is any less of a masterpiece, it just might not appeal to the mainstream as much. You'll have to give it a bit more time to listen and truly appreciate the songs, once you do though you'll see that this album is like the piece of the jigsaw puzzle that's been missing all these years.
Everything in Root Fire grooves delicately and elegantly. Hi-hats dance lightly and snare rolls bounce effortlessly from sticks, the solo guitar jangles and picks out the classic off beat ska rhythmns whilst the bass rumbles and rolls around picking up your feet and filling you with the urge to dance. Vocally there is a lot less harmony on this album than Sounding a Mosaic but singer Jay Molinowski's voice cuts through the air with soul and purpose. This really is a joy to listen to.