Tal National Kaani

Tal National Kaani
7
After firmly establishing themselves as Niger's premiere West African guitar band with breakout 2008 album A-Na Waya, Tal National return with Kaani. Drawing upon a rotating wheel of West African rhythms — from the get-on-your-feet tempos of Soukous to rock and blues — the album serves as a musical roadmap of the band's hometown of Niamey. Capturing the vitality of the city, Tal National frontman Hamadal "Almeida" Moumine's fingers dance over the strings of the guitar with a groove that plays a game of tag with your ears. Meanwhile, the rest of the group complete the record's framework with energetic percussion and weighty vocals that fill out the eight tracks. This leaves the album with a hypnotic landscape of colourful sounds that sounds comfortable and familiar, which is Kaani's biggest problem. The album doesn't feel like a step forward, sounding like it could be the companion CD to A-Na Waya, if it was a double album. While still entertaining, Kaani sounds like the same moving parts with a cleaner exhaust. (Fat Cat)