Amadou & Mariam: La Confusion (Because Music)

It's five years since the last album from world music stars Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia, the married, blind Malian duo whose collaborators since their 2005 breakthrough Dimanche à Bamako have included Manu Chao, Damon Albarn, Santigold and Jake Shears from Scissor Sisters. On this eighth album, however, the only significant helpmate is French producer Adrien Durand. Mariam's vocals and Amadou's driving, propulsive guitar come together to the greatest effect on Fari Mandila, on the spectral desert blues of Mokou Mokou and on the hypnotic Ta Promesse, but it's Durand's fingerprints which are all over disco funk-tinged opener Bofou Safou and (to a lesser extent) the title track.

The confusion in question here is as much political as personal, of course. Since 2012, Mali has been wracked by internal conflict, and Amadou and Mariam don't shirk from discussion of it. La Confusion speaks for itself, Femmes Du Monde is a hymn to women and Bofou Safou is a dig at young men who'd rather dance than work, while on C'est Chaud Amadou sings: “C'est dur, les temps sont durs, l'insécurité partout, c'est chaud partout, la guerre partout, la haine partout”. Translation? There's war, hate and insecurity everywhere, basically. With its disco-funk flourishes La Confusion will divide the purists, but there's no denying its lyrical heft.