Neil Spencer 

Terakaft: Kel Tamasheq – review

The Saharan stars return with a polished fourth album that gives more identity to their desert blues, writes Neil Spencer
  
  

Founded in the wake of Tinariwen's success, Terakaft have inevitably operated under the shadow of their elder Saharan cousins. Kel Tamasheq, their fourth album, brings a more distinctive identity to their desert blues. The serpentine guitar riffs, insistent handclaps, massed chants and rolling grooves remain intact, but their sound is less cluttered (and often less forlorn) than Tinariwen's. Producer Justin Adams brings subtle sonic expertise to tracks such as the shimmering Awa Adounia and friends from French group Lo'Jo add female voices and violin elsewhere. Completed before the conflict in north Mali, numbers such as Tirera and Imad Halan starkly evoke the terror of war.