Friday, 6 April 2012

Adebisi Shank - This Is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank


Irish music isn't exactly shown in either welcomed spirit or one not conforming to stereotypes. Beyond the regular digs at a certain 'dance', several come-and-gone pop bands and the occasional quartet of string instruments, the emerald isle has found itself sitting in Britain's shadow for an unfairly long time. But where you'd think tradition would come to bite back and demonstrate the nation's seat in the circle of contemporary music nations, it's a totally far-from-traditional genre that is host to one of Ireland's most exciting and energetic bands at present. The genre, is math-rock. The band is Adebisi Shank. The band's debut - which you can guess just by subtracting and replacing a couple of words - was a far-flung explosion of guitar riffs and drum hits that gave math-rock a recalculating reality-check. Their follow-up, quite charmingly, like its title continues the same forward-thinking confidence but builds on it and reignites it for another blast of 40-minute delicacy.

'International Dreambeat' indeed works its magic in a charming flutter, or rather a distorted, disfiguredly charming flutter. The track shunts and shoves itself between a bopping of bubbly paw-printed chord keys and an impedence of guitars and drums. Shifting back and forth between mannerisms, the opening song is one of both a kind of gentle kindredness and unchained extroversion, guitars both pricking the strings atop the electronics as much as it slams them up, down, forwards, backwards and finally into our ear canals. 'Masa' to follow only builds on this rekindled energy as it too wavers between a slamming of more guitar chords and percussion hits and the babbling of effect-laiden jibberish that works really well with the height of the track's rhythm. Even without synths knocking left and right, the band continue to demonstrate the same kind of energy and enthusiastic mustering shown to great proportions on their debut. The track has no distinctive changing or variation on its sound, but there's certainly a need...a want...to keep it going, to keep it live and invigorating in touch.

Amidst these three/four-minute bursts catapulting the parameters of sound and perception, it's quite bizarre then that the highlight of this album - and quite possibly the most rewarding example of development in Shank's sound - is the 2-minute half-way marker that is identified in neither word nor syllable in its title. For a track slightly cryptic in its name, '(-_-)', its sound is anything but. The brooding naturism of the caribbean-esque guitars leave a charming and pleasant aroma, the intersection with the album's signature quirky effect-laid electronics only adding to the hypnotic texture of the instrumentation.

So too is the percussion and appliance of these instruments, expanded upon on this record. 'Logdrum' is a muddle of bongo-like drum hits and sliding of guitar riffs that in its closing third becomes awash in these swift tides of sound and looming guitar playing. There may be a continuing of this no-holding-back stricken of guitars and though on occasions, the composite of sound may feel a little used and reused over - and as a result, begins to stagger in places - what keeps the band going and appealing in the long-run is their tenacious stagger and unwillingness to conform to the tradition of guitar and drum formulaic structure. Closer 'Century City' is both a testament and a reminder to Math Rock's energetic and liberating ventures into sound deliverance. The broadening of guitar plucks and drum patters shift between steady progression and adventurous build-up and though the sound itself doesn't necessarily alter or change in direction, the progression from the start works really well in unison with the instrumentation. It does drag a little towards the end, but this is a tiny critique in comparison to the scale of the track's venturous colour.

In a genre that may, for most of the guitars played, focus on arpeggio-orientated arrangements or softly cushioned bundles of percussion, it's good to find a band who aren't afraid to push the envelope and open rock to a sound that isn't all about numbers or quantity. Adebisi Shank are a shining example to those who may not exactly have the indoctrinated skill for complex arrangements but can stand atop even the highest platform when it comes to the performance of these ideas. Their second album, through this, thunders and lightens up the twiddling frantic scene of both mathematic and experimental rock with superb results.
~Jordan

8.1

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