Black Bombaim Take the Weekend Trip

Comprised of two massive psychedelic jams, Black Bombaim’s first full-length, Saturdays and Space Travels (Lovers & Lollypops), follows up a demo and an EP in startling fashion. The Barcelo, Portugal, trio display a surprising amount of chemistry for a band who’s only been together a couple years, which says to me that these dudes jam out — a lot. You don’t play this well together without practice, and though I’ve heard neither their 2007 demo nor the subsequent Black Bombaim CDR EP, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could trace the growth of the band as players across those releases, eventually arriving as they have at Saturdays and Space Travels, which meanders with such light feet that you have no choice really but to follow where it takes you.

When thinking of instrumental psych bands specializing in extended jams, acts like Earthless and Tia Carrera come to mind. Black Bombaim are less improvisational than the latter, and where the former seem hell-bent on capturing the specific aesthetic of the jams on ‘70s live albums from the likes of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, Black Bombaim don’t follow as specific a course. Guitarist Ricardo leads the way for most of the time, either by soloing as on Side-B of this vinyl (you could call it “Space Travels” if you want, but the file I got was just named Side-B) or igniting plumes of stone-worthy riffage on Side-A (ostensibly “Saturdays”). It’s a little disingenuous to call the guitars “leading” though, because bassist Tojo and drummer Senra are more than worthy collaborators. Perhaps even more than Ricardo’s blazing leads, it’s their foundation that gives these two 19:47 tracks — yes, they’re both the same length — their overarching groove.

Black Bombaim’s style is really too active to chill out to, but it’s easy to get lost in either of these tracks. Apart from the hypnotic aspects heavily-reverbed psychedelic guitar and ride cymbals have when combined in such proportion, 20 minutes is a long time to keep up with a song. I think, though, If you want to sit an analyze each turn Saturdays and Space Travels makes, you’re probably missing a good deal of the point. There’s enough inherent wizardry in the playing of Ricardo, Senra and Tojo that you understand they’re technically capable musicians, but more even than their individual notes, chords or hits, it’s the interaction between the instruments that gives the album its satisfying feel. Black Bombaim reportedly recorded live, and that organic, band-in-the-room vibe is carried across well. I don’t think Saturdays and Space Travels would have worked otherwise, the change in pace 14 minutes into Side-B where the song slows would seem either contrived or lackluster had it been pieced together in editing software.

In either concept or execution, I find a hard time arguing against 20-minute psychedelic space jams, and since Black Bombaim do it well on Saturdays and Space Travels, neither do I feel a need to do so. Their approach isn’t groundbreaking, but their playing is fluid and for what they’re doing, originality isn’t half as much a requirement as simply being able to pull it off. And for that, Black Bombaim’s first full-length bodes remarkably well for the jams still to come. I wouldn’t be surprised if they worked in some keys or even vocals for future explorations, but for now, they’ve given themselves a good root to grow from and there’s nothing I could reasonably ask of Saturdays and Space Travels that it doesn’t deliver.

Black Bombaim on MySpace

Lovers & Lollypops

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3 Responses to “Black Bombaim Take the Weekend Trip”

  1. JT says:

    Sounds right up my alley!

  2. Boxking says:

    I think this is one of the best albums I heard all year – it just plain rules. Have just ordered the vinyl for portugal – can’t wait to listen to that bad boy.

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