Bombino & Black Keys' Dan Auerbach Make Desert Rock For The Modern Ear

Bombino & Black Keys' Dan Auerbach Make Desert Rock For The Modern Ear

We review Bombino's Nomad album featuring Black Keys guitarist/singer Dan Auerbach.

Not simply a collection of good tracks, Bombino's Nomad — the latest album from the  Niger guitarist — transplants its listeners to a wild journey into the depths of an 11-track Saharan desert. This is a musical desert barren of everything but life’s two essentials: psychedelics and soul. A tour guide through his compositions, the guitar-powered emotion transcends language as the principle form of direction on Bombino's Nomad. As such, it doesn't matter whether or not one speaks the Tuareg tongue of the maestro in order to wander inside his adventurous world.

On his 2011 debut album, Agadez, Bombino soothed listeners with his North African brand of coffee shop blues. This time around Bombino’s entrancing concoctions fuse with some good ol’ fashioned southern comfort. Black Keys guitarist/singer and Nomad producer DanAuerbach's gritty bootprint propels Bombino’s guitar mastery into mind-altering psychedelia levels. Album opener “Amidinine” instantly throws listeners deep inside the frontier of its outlaw creators. A daydreamer’s paradise, Nomad continues teleporting listeners to faraway lands from thereafter.

Bombino’s is a style of guitar playing that has each note setting off little sparks in listeners’ heads. In between the thrills, there are moments of contentment and quenching calm. “Imidiwan” subdues souls with an oasis retreat, as if Bombino and crew have kicked back from the danger on horseback (or motorcycle) with some pool time and frozen drinks. The hopeful tone of closing track “Tamiditine” cools down with the mark of a journey successfully completed. Perhaps Nomad’s peril-to-positive storyline hints towards a desire for peaceful times in Bombino’s home region.

Buy Bombino's Nomadon iTunes, out now via Nonesuch Records.