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Sometimes, events conspire in ways which dwarf the largely adolescent concerns of rock and pop. Take the plight of Tuareg desert-rockers Tinariwen, acclaimed cultural ambassadors currently unable to reside in their beloved Tenere (homeland) due to the Salafist insurgency ultimately caused by Western adventurism in Libya. Elwan (Elephants), perhaps their most powerful album since Amassakoul, confronts their situation head-on, in songs musing on the values of ancestry, unity and fellowship, driven by the infectiously hypnotic cyclical guitar grooves that wind like creepers around their poetic imagery. Unsurprisingly, there’s a deep vein of melancholy running through the album, which had to be recorded in France, Morocco and California (where the likes of Kurt Vile and Alain Johannes contributed additional guitar lines) rather than Mali. Ultimately, the album’s success is rooted in the balance between the barreling, spiky grooves of tracks like “Tiwayyen” and “Assawt”, with their skirling whorls of guitar, and the more contemplative reflections on solitude and fulfillment, such as Eyadou Ag Leche’s “Nannuflay”, to which Mark Lanegan adds a verse about “no more sleepwalking”. It’s Eyadou’s most pointed observation that best summarises the band’s invidious position, “pursuing memories built on a dune that’s always moving”. Thankfully, they’re used to that nomadic existence.