Songhoy Blues have announced details of their new album, Résistance, which Fat Possum Records/Transgressive Records will release on Friday June 16, 2017. The album is bold, inspiring and outward-looking, perfectly reflecting the position in which the band have found themselves following the massive success of their breakthrough debut, Music In Exile, released in 2015.
Résistance was recorded in the autumn of 2016 at The Pool studio in London with producer Neil Comber (MIA, Django Django, Crystal Fighters, Declan McKenna) and, in keeping with their spirit of collaboration which saw them previously work with Nick Zinner, Julian Casablancas and Damon Albarn, features additional synths by Lxury and vocal contributions from the likes of Iggy Pop, Elf Kid and Stealing Sheep. Beyond this, the album features beautiful string parts (“Hometown”) and in one particularly surprising, moving instance (“One Colour”), a children’s choir.
Lyrically and sonically, Résistance is a huge leap forward for Songhoy Blues, a musical snapshot of a band at the top of their game. Richer, more eclectic and musically adventurous, it captures a band who, for the last three years, have toured the world and soaked up music far beyond the borders of their native Mali. With more time and a wider armoury of equipment at their disposal, the album is the sound of Songhoy Blues stretching themselves, with hints of R&B, soul and hip-hop all fusing seamlessly with the band’s trademark exuberant sound, with themes for our time.
Whereas their debut was lyrically rather parochial, dealing with the problems faced by the people of Mali, the new album is more universal in tone and speaks positively about their homeland, lovingly talking about the beauty of the Sahara and night-life in Bamako. Lead vocalist Aliou Touré says, “With ‘Bamako’ we just wanted to write something fun and positive about where we come from. So much of what people hear about Africa is negative; bad news stories about war and famine just dominate the common image of Africa. But this track is about dispelling that image by describing something everyone can relate to – going out on a Saturday night – to show that Africa isn't just what people see in the news, there's so much more to it than that.”
The band released their debut album, Music In Exile, in early 2015 receiving across the board praise, including a 5/5 rating in The Guardian who claimed, “they have all the makings of African-rock crossover heroes.” Rolling Stone named the band one of their 10 Artists You Need to Know, calling the album “a churning, loose-limbed garage-rock take on traditional Malian music.
The band has appeared on Later…with Jools Holland and NPR Tiny Desk, and has been featured by radio tastemakers including BBC 6Music, KEXP and KCRW. They have also received a wave of acclaim for They Will Have To Kill Us First, an award-winning film which told the story of Songhoy Blues and the struggle faced by musicians in Mali. Résistance doesn’t so much continue the thrilling story of Songhoy Blues so far, but rather adds a whole new dimension altogether to one of the world’s most important, rising bands.