One of my highlights of the last 18 months has been Earthless’s From The Ages album, which often seems clamped onto my record player. It is a massive guitar driven behemoth which is relentless in its pursuance of magnificent psychedelic riffage and buries itself further and further into your brain. I discovered Earthless through J Hubner’s review of the album here on Backseat Mafia.
I mention all this because the highest praise that I could think about heaping on Black Bombaim is that they remind me a great deal of Earthless. An epic guitar band which is at the same time totally rock ’n’ roll and massively groovy. What a combination!
Black Bombaim describe themselves as a ‘heavy psych trio’ and hail from Barcelos in Portugal. On the face of it that would seem to be a fair description and, with this album being released on Cardinal Fuzz, hardly a surprise. It’s taken me a while to get my head round this album though because Black Bombaim is more than that. Side 1 of the album, Africa II (there is one track per side), is a heavy guitar jam but interspersed with improvised vignettes of saxophone which give the whole track a different flavour altogether, sounding like Denmark’s Causa Sui and the American band Psicomagia, two of the great bands to be found on El Paraiso Records. I find that these interludes both disrupt and enhance the track, but give the listener much to digest. There aren’t lyrics but there is much to think about.
Side 2, Arabia, is a massive sand dune of fuzz guitar. It is desert music, but not in the Ry Cooder expanse of sand and rattlesnake sense. This is music much more focussed on the Arabian desert. This is probably not music that could have been made by an American band because, while many of the elements of space rock delivered by American bands in the past are there, there is a kind of gestalt effect here. By this I mean that although Black Bombaim minimally introduce Middle East rhythms it seems to be much more about the holistic experience with swirling sands and mysterious shapes. This is achieved through the synth work which augments the guitars and drums brilliantly, giving the track a depth and form that is transformational.
With this album Black Bombaim cement their reputation as a terrific ‘heavy psych trio’, but through the respective inclusion of Rodrigo Amado’s amazing tenor sax on Africa II, and The Astroboy’s synth on Arabia, they take their music to another level. This is guitar-led psych rock at its very best: let it shape your mind.