Bedouin Soundclash, ‘We Will Meet in a Hurricane’ — 3.5/5 Stars

‘We Will Meet in a Hurricane’ is an album only Bedouin Soundclash could have made

Provided by Dine Alone Records

Bedouin Soundclash is a name you maybe haven’t thought of in a minute, but those of us old enough to remember 2004 might have fond memories of its CanCon smash “When the Night Feels My Song.” The song is slightly confounding in all the ways that make the band such an interesting entity — a melding of reggae, folk, punk and pop with very few suitable comparison points.

I’ve always seen Bedouin Soundclash as a sort of proto-Vampire Weekend, another band of hipsters appropriating a wide swath of world music. But its aesthetic vocabulary couldn’t be any further from Vampire Weekend’s initial ironic Ivy League stance. Bedouin Soundclash sincerely cared in a folksy, old-school punk type way, and wasn’t afraid to be openly anthemic. 

Their name, Bedouin Soundclash, is heady and puzzling too — evoking ancient nomadic Arab tribes and Jamaican dub parties in the same breath and representing a band that plays a mix of ska, rock, electronic, pop and folk.

Its 20-plus-year career has led the band down many paths, working with artists from the electronic, jazz, pop and punk worlds in equal measure. 

After breaking a nine-year hiatus with 2019’s MASS, the band is back with a new album called We Will Meet in a Hurricane.

The 12-track record is being presented as a sort of back-to-basics, late career return to form. The production is shiny and poppy, but the arrangements are kept to a select number of elements paired together in different ways.

The opening title track is a sugar-sweet ska-pop song that establishes the album’s theme of approaching apocalyptic difficulties with a chipper optimism. 

“Longer Days in Shorter Years” is a sauntering and slightly silly, lightly political bar-band rocker with a really infectious hook.

Tracks like “A Torn Jacket with Silver Lining” and “Man from Cascades” have truly strange palettes, mixing Spanish guitars, chirpy ska rhythms, country-ish pedal steel glides, lavish string arrangements and vibraphone.

In general, the sound that Bedouin Soundclash ends up with here is without many clear analogues. The songs themselves are never too off the wall in construction, but the way they’re arranged is never not interesting. 

We Will Meet in a Hurricane is an album only Bedouin Soundclash could have made. It borders on cloying sweetness, it’s a little too long and the songwriting is occasionally a bit bland. 

However, it’s all vintage Soundclash, and when it works, it really works. 

We Will Meet in a Hurricane comes out Oct. 21, and will be available on major streaming platforms.