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Adebisi Shank – This Is The Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank album review

This Is The Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank

And now for something completely different. Ireland’s multiple award-nominated Adebisi Shank have just recently released their critically-acclaimed album, ‘This Is The Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank’ (well, what else did you think it was going to be called?) worldwide via Sargent House.

Praise for the trailblazing collective has been profuse, with the NME gushing that they’re “baffling, terrifying and utterly riveting”, and The Daily Telegraph placing them in their Top five of ‘Best New Irish Bands’. The band also made its U.S. live debut recently during the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, TX.

With a strong, lengthy EP already on the loose, ‘This Is The Second Album of…’ zips by speedily by comparison. The songs this time around are tighter and more centered, but no less weird. While previous songs like ‘Horse’ came in at just under five minutes, these tracks are all a lot shorter and are all the better for it.

Coming from the Rage Against The Machine school of ‘how-many-noises-can-you-make-with-a-guitar,-drums-and-bass?’, these instrumentalists (with an emphasis on the ‘mental’) aren’t like anyone else out there at the moment, although some comparisons have been drawn with Don Cabellero. It’s a dizzying album of mostly instrumental music, though not really a rock album as such.

They’re much-loved in Japan – the land of all-things-gimmicky and quirky – and this 40-minute album is certainly steeped in Japanese influence from the band’s three tours there.

Forty seconds into upbeat opener ‘International Dreambeat’ and it explodes with ecstatic crescendos piling on top of vooming synthesizers and bass. It’s the sound of rainbows played on guitars, and the theme tune to the inside of Lar, Mick and Vinny’s brains that kicks off the album suitably.

The hell-for-leather frantic pace of their debut has eased somewhat, although the results are no less spectacular. The guitar continues to talk in tongues, with weird riffs and fluttering beats. Check out the fuzzed-up ‘Bones’, the head-bopping ‘Genki Shank’, or the Oriental bliss of vintage video game sounds on ‘Logdrum’. Here, there are more ideas in one song than some manage on an entire album, yet things don’t become too unhinged either.

The rhythm section can probably start and finish each other’s sentences. Guitarist Lar also veers off on tangents, while the task of reigning this all in coherently is, ironically, left to the drums and bass, which perform an admirable job of being understated, focused and whip-cracking all at once.

While so many bands who decide to go down the instrumental route have opted for the unpredictable quiet-loud approach, Adebisi Shank have decided to just deviate from the hymn sheet altogether. Not that there’s much in the way of vocals here, mind.

After a slowly building mid-section, ‘YouMe’ branches out into a funky beat that’ll have heads rocking, while ‘DoDr’ pulls you backwards and forwards. ‘Shunk’ is loaded with plenty of rock-freak-out that compliments the wah-wah effects. Meanwhile, parts of ‘Mini Rockers’ are like the world of a Sega Megadrive, before whipping itself into a frenzied crescendo.

It’s as if they’re daring the most ADHD-ish of us to remain still, before bombarding you with ‘Snakehips’ and its sudden blast of handclaps.

Adebisi Shank are nothing if not versatile: they move from their infectiously energetic live shows, to math-rock, to the Redneck Manifesto hero-worship, and to the machismo of the mosh pit. Although some post-rock can be po-faced and a bit too muso-centric, there’s just something so upbeat and ebulliently inclusive about Adebisi Shank’s guitar, bass, drums and electronics mischief.

Expect the Wexford-Dublin trio to bring you on an odyssey of robot-rock riffage, classic rock licks, hypnotic jazz patterns, vocoders, marimbas, crash-bang-wallop hardcore and even 1980s synthesizer pop and basslines. Guests include Conor O’Brien from Villagers who provides vocals on ‘Europa’, and Jape, who plays synths on closing track ‘Century City’.

By Sheila Ring

Sheila lives in Ireland, and has written for a number of local, national, UK, and online publications.

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