Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara Tell No Lies

Adams and Camara's spontaneous first album was a pleasing combination of rock-ish instrumental motifs and Malian energy highlighted by Camara's funky fiddle, called the ritti. This second disc steps up their collaboration in every way. Adams is a veteran of West African production at this point and has helmed most of Tinariwen's releases in between tours with Robert Plant. Camara has a greater idea of where things are going and plays with greater abandon on this disc, issued on the more prestigious Real World Records. Adams concocts terrifically bluesy settings for the fiddle, which lay just this side of being overheated tributes to electric American blues. The first track alone, "Sahara," is an overwhelming grind of distortion and ecstatic fiddle playing, but every track varies the approach, from the relatively quiet and atmospheric "Gainako" to the bubbling bass action of "Madam Mariama." As with Tinariwen's Aman Iman, this might be too slick for those who prefer their music from Africa to be grimy and lo-fi but fuck 'em if they can't appreciate the music behind the reverb settings. (Real World)