Band â€“ Adebisi Shank
Album â€“ This is the Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank
Label â€“ Richter Collective/Big Scary Monsters
Release date â€“ 20th August
Sounds like â€“ experimental space-rock gone super nova.
Jaw well and truly on the floor for this one. Itâ€™s one of those moments when you start to re-evaluate certain factors, points in your life and more importantly; lists. When listening to Adebisi Shank I sometimes think â€œwhat is the actual point of any other bands existing or releasing anymore music? Because there is no way in a billion burning suns there will ever be anything that touches this.â€ â€˜This is the Second Album of a Bandâ€¦.â€™ Is the follow up to the Dublin trioâ€™s 2008 release, â€˜This is the First Album of a Bandâ€¦.â€™ a record that stuck rigidly to a fury of math punk debauchery, whereas this, their second effort, treads a different, but equally compelling and stronger path. It builds on the already raucous template of scrawling noise and chaos, shaping it into something that well and truly envelopes your senses.
Opening track â€˜International Dreambeatâ€™ is a somewhat flamboyant beginning. The juxtaposition of electronic wizardry (something that soon becomes a running theme throughout the album), the noisy bass hum, scything guitars and tribal beats fit to create a strident and joyous opener. Down I Goâ€™s Pete Fraser lends his saxophone skills to great effect in the songâ€™s middle section. Only the truly bereft of life will struggle not to extend their arms in such a way, flailing them around their current location to this wondrous cacophony. Itâ€™s not without its heaviness though â€“ the last 30 seconds are particularly brutal, as Mick, Lar and Vinny thrash out a masterful blast of jerking trash-robot rock.
â€˜Masaâ€™ is a frankly unbelievable piece of music. When the cheering starts almost 9 seconds into the song, the same time as the drums kick in, backing the same 3 repeated guitar chords you realise that this is something special. Itâ€™s like a rallying call-to-arms. The roaring cheers? They are the soldiers of the Shank, preparing for war. The drum beats? Theyâ€™re the sound of the warriors clattering their clubs, swords and limbs torn from their enemies on their shields/breastplates. The bass? Thatâ€™sâ€¦ermâ€¦. Vinny playing bass? Itâ€™s part of the hook though and that bass line, running beneath this vibrant, ecstatic chant is what holds it all together. As the technical wizardry grows, the track begins to evolve and vomits forth an explosive multi-colour of techno-punk rock chaos, complete with garbled vocoder mumbles and an off-kilter shred of mangled math-destruction. Itâ€™s breathless â€“ complete and utterly, unhinged, unrelenting rock music that strains and snaps like a crazed monster, eager to sink its teeth into your flesh. Itâ€™s also fascinating though â€“ a compelling twist of sounds that resemble the destruction and recreation of shapes and colours in almost lightening fast speed. The playing ability is frankly astonishing; how the machine that is Adebisi Shank keep in time is beyond my thinking â€“ if the guitar isnâ€™t sounding like itâ€™s being strangled to death, itâ€™s ploughing a grimy furrow so deep Satan is waving back. The sudden pause at the 2:12 mark is a welcomed relief. Itâ€™s like when â€˜March of the Pigsâ€™ unexpectedly stopsâ€¦.youâ€™re never quite sure when itâ€™s going to kick in againâ€¦. â€˜Masaâ€™ relishes this, rubbing its hands in glee, tantalising the listener with stabbing second long snaps of grinding sound. When it finally kicks in, the spiralling noise is a gleeful rush of exuberant joy, coupled with some OXES worthy guitar distortion and shred that is simply breathtaking. It concludes with that opening bass pluck, the ovation of the assembled warriors and a jerking, stutter of twisted math-rock insolence.
â€˜Micromachinesâ€™ hones a staggering lurch, offset by multi-layered, tappy guitar patterns that almost seem pop-orientated, but still retain that guttural urgency of instrumental noise rock. The heavy, reeling chorus and filthy bass ravaging alongside the unremitting guitar spirals is truly majestic and the devastating finish is a metallic assault on the senses, incorporating that rise and fall with some truly crushing power chords. On the flip side, â€˜(-_-)â€™ is Adebisi Shank by the way of 65daysofstatic, a broken computer console, glitch-riddled chords, alien-vocal gibbering, atmospheric nuances and ethereal handclaps. Itâ€™s a somewhat sweet, stuttering respite to the carnage that has preceded it.
â€˜Logdrumâ€™ in both name and sound is the very essence of a lost Nintendo title. The glitched summery beats, delightfully twee-pop tune, hazy guitar plucking and fuzzy, yet jangled structure is something right out of a title involving an ape that takes great pleasure in throwing barrels at a rogue plumber. I imagine getting nicely stoned to this is something of a royal headfuck â€“ akin to being force fed the Mario soundtrack played 50% slower, Clockwork Orange style.
â€˜Bonesâ€™ sounds quite obscurely, like a lost instrumental ELO track, incorporating this strange distorted drum march, vintage keyboard whirls and a mid-section made up completely of furious handclaps and an almost-folk rock essence. It maybe the rustic, haphazard sound, which is nothing like the scathing riffage as seen on previous tracks â€“ this is toned down somewhat, yet still manages to sound just as sinister, if not more so. Itâ€™s a fuzzy, hippie chant of character-packed instrumental jamming that feels so raw, so natural and so vital.
â€˜Europaâ€™ splices post-rock ambience with rattling, stop-start drum patterns twinkling guitar notes and an eerie background whine that is met by the guttural bass grind of the traditional Adebisi Shank sound, squealing and writhing in a tappy conglomerate of math-rock. What were once vocals, pepper the songâ€™s coda in the form of vocoder shrieks and hisses, as well as a soaring, ghostly wail giving a heavy nod towards fellow instrumentalists, And So I Watch You From Afar.
The final track â€˜Century Cityâ€™ is a huge solid barrier of bass and drum bullishness; the former twanging and grinding away with such a cocky, brazen attitude whilst the latter is a rhythmic marching stomp of defiance, reminiscent of a club anthem played at a quarter of itâ€™s usual speed. The guitar howls with a scratching whine over this methodical barrage, keeping in time with the militant march of both the drum and bass. The reeling point at the two-minute mark, pitches a slovenly gait of splintered electronica-blast beats, and synthesised shrieks through the dense trample of noise. It suddenly hurls into a Justice-style dance-rock beat, eerily similar to the wonderful â€˜Minirockersâ€™ from their first album. Thereâ€™s also a touch of brass breaking through the complex glitching sound, which by the 4:30 mark, is the sound of a space-station computer malfunctioning during a massive fuck-off freak-out.
Breathtaking doesnâ€™t even begin to describe it. This is a 40 minute euphoric rush of the very future of rock music, played with astonishing tightness and precision. Some moments, it feels like an ascent to heaven, before being crashed back to earth thanks to the shattering power of the musicianship on offer, from the sporadic drum patterns, to the furious bass grind and the interstellar guitar playing. Like having a kaleidoscope forced into your brain during an electro storm, Adebisi Shank are anything but predictable â€“ ‘This is the Second….‘ is easily my album of the year, hands down – a phenomenal body of work.
By Ross Macdonald