Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Etran de l'Air

  • No. 1 [Sahel Sounds, 2018] A-
  • Agadez [Sahel Sounds, 2022] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

No. 1 [Sahel Sounds, 2018]
From Agadez, the embattled Tuareg stronghold in Niger that generated Group Doueh, Group Inerane, and most exportably Group Bombino, comes another guitar band in that mold. This 2018 album is younger-sounding and a shade or two less raucous; its high-pitched ululations lack the distinctly female gravitas of Inerane's ecstatic, authoritative verses and Doueh's committed, supportive backup choruses. Then again, check out the finale here--pretty wild. A-

Agadez [Sahel Sounds, 2022]
Not at all slick but definitely more professional, clean-edged where one charm of their 2018 debut was how unkempt it was, the default up-and-comers of Agadez guitar generate a lot more drive this time around. Their Tuareg loyalty to an Azawad that exists primarily in their aspirations seems more presentational than activist at this moment in a crammed historical juncture with less and less room for that aspiration. But keeping the faith is a proven way to keep the music that arose with it alive. A-