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Bedouin Soundclash Channel The Perfect Storm

Jay Malinowski and Eon Sinclair go back to their roots with gusto on We Will Meet in a Hurricane.

by Stephan Boissonneault 

Photo by Steph Montani

Listening to Bedouin Sounclash’s 2005 single, “When The Night Feels My Song,” is like stepping into a time machine. During the summer that it was released, you couldn’t go anywhere in Canada without hearing the reggae-infused rock group’s breezy hit. It played in shopping malls, on the radio, TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy; it was even T-Mobile’s advertising campaign. The track was the lead single on Bedouin’s second album, the Platinum-selling Sounding a Mosaic, and it dominated the charts. Call it a guilty pleasure or just plain nostalgia, but that tinge of reggae and soft rock mixed with those warm backing vocals during the chorus hit just right.

“It was a really odd period of time for me,” says songwriter Jay Malinowski. “I’d be staring at something like a wood panel in Home Depot and it would be playing over the speakers. It still does actually.”

Bedouin Soundclash – We Will Meet in a Hurricane (2022, Dine Alone)

Now, almost 20 years later, Bedouin Soundclash have just released their sixth studio album, We Will Meet in a Hurricane, and Malinowski admits that during the writing process of the new album he was feeling nostalgic, if not a bit retrospective. “Now that Eon (Sinclair) and I are 40, we can kind of look back on our lives and see the ramifications of our decisions,” he says. “Everyone has a different thing that will hit you hard in your life and you can either face the storm or you can try and continue on with some form of denial. So that’s where the idea of the hurricane came from.”

The album art, which features two boys looking tough, but vulnerable, was also painted by Malinowski; a reference to himself and Sinclair as children. “I knew I wanted two boys at the beginning of their adolescence and it turned out to be me and Eon. I was thinking about when we were young, and thinking, ‘how are we going to survive?’”

Malinowski and Sinclair also went back to their roots during the creation of the new album as well, sitting in a room together and jamming out songs on a guitar and bass. Malinowski recalls the experience feeling like the creative process of Sounding a Mosaic when they were “just kids,” creating the bones of a song in a dorm room at Queen’s University where they first met. 

The two also had no real plan to release a new album to follow up 2019’s MASS—which they recorded in New Orleans with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band — but were just looking to get back into the creative swing after music stopped during the peak of COVID. “It was kind of a blessing in disguise because I was in the middle of having a kid so it was awesome to kind of slow down,” Malinowski admits. “As a result of that, Eon came out to meet me and there was no pressure to make music we would release. We just went into the studio and realized, ‘Oh if we’re going in we should have some songs. So the album kind of wrote itself.”

Everything just fell into place too. We Will Meet In A Hurricane contains vocal collaborations from Aimee Allen of The Interrupters and Ashleigh Ball of Hey Ocean. Malinowski produced the album alongside Colin Stewart (Destroyer, Black Mountain, Dan Mangan) “Every single person we’ve ever worked with, we’ve had a personal connection with,” Malinowski says. “I knew Aimee would be perfect for ‘Walk through Fire,’ and they said ‘Let’s do it.’ They’re so busy, but they handed [their vocal part] to me on the night they were on James Corden or something and it just made the song.”

We Will Meet in a Hurricane also has a remix EP attached to it called Hurricane Dub made by Bad Brains’ bassist and punk rock pioneer Darryl Jenifer. Malinowski calls this a full circle moment for the fact that Jenifer actually produced Bedouin’s Sounding a Mosaic, referring to Jenifer as an “uncle” for the band.   

“I remember hearing he wanted to produce it and being terrified because I’m a huge Bad Brains fan,” Malinowski says. “They were a band on the fringe that really changed music for me. But he’s so nice and kind of took us under his wing, telling us stories about the music industry, and I don’t think any band has a crazier story than Bad Brains. But those are his to tell. All we can do is learn from him.”