Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Dakhla Sahara Session [Born Bad, 2017] A

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Dakhla Sahara Session [Born Bad, 2017]
Recorded over nine headlong, unharmonious January 2016 days in a Western Sahara ocean town, this conflict-ridden one-off collab between a non-Tuareg desert band and a Parisian rock trio rangier and less punky than you'd expect, this is one of those wildly impolite guitar records you're lucky to trip over twice a year. It begins with handclaps that soon combust past the French singer's male groans into exultant woman-to-woman byplay, and by explosive track five "Azawan," which it's worth remembering is how Tuaregs say homeland, everybody sounds desperate to get on with it or out of there. Only then follows "Char‚a," a long waltz-time centerpiece split into three distinct case studies in peaceful coexistence. All over this record, hoarse roar meets soaring contralto while flute tweets, keyb tinkles, and squishy noises fit right in. A