Adebisi Shank - This is the Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank
Record Label: Sargent House Records
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Adebisi Shank is an Irish trio, hailing more specifically from Wexford. They claim to be huge fans of cyber-metal (if you’re listening it’s not hard to see why they’d consider themselves fans of cyber-anything), but they describe themselves more accessibly as a dance/instrumental punk rock band. When I first laid eyes on those genre tags on their bandcamp, immediately I wondered how well they would measure up to such an unconventional set of descriptors. I’ve got my tape in hand. Let’s get measuring.
How is it?
Get ready for a fast-paced and boisterous tornado of bright, fun, and geeked-out math rock. Adebisi Shank adds an indescribably expansive plethora of electronic adjustments to their songwriting, ultimately resulting in nothing less than technically impressive 8-bit mathyness, with a whole slew of unique modifications to go along with it in nearly every track. There is literally not one second on this album where an intricate and catchy melody is not present, and sometimes exploding into a sharp and loud wall of sound which occurs memorably in the center of “International Dreambeat”. Indeed, to Adebisi Shank, ear candy is true ambrosia. The influence of punk is also highly obvious, made manifest both in the chaotic guitar work and extremely rapid tempos. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to attribute a serious metal influence to this album as well; as the technicality and sheer speed of the guitar work cannot be underestimated.
Occasionally, Daft Punk-esque distorted robotic voices are present amongst the ear candy melodic frenzy as in “Genki Shank” (a fitting title, as this band’s middle name might as well be “energy”); something I wouldn’t count as vocals since no one’s really singing. Just as occasionally, Adebisi Shank turn down the mind-melting speeds from time to time and break things down into a few basic notes, adding a layer here and there into a puzzle that is intricately pieced together so that the listener can get a full-bodied sense of the harmonics (“Micromachines”). Additionally, Adebisi Shank tone things down completely with “(-_-)” (fantastic song name right there, very profound), morphing into a chilled out jam that’s slow enough to relax but quick and melodic enough to keep a brain interested.
This continues on through “Logdrum”, the album’s shining moment of glory, in which about halfway through transitions into a very electronic rendition of something that could be heard coming out of a jazz band’s saxophone. It melds into the previous percussion and also with the obsessive electronic melodies into an incredibly unique concoction. Cyber-jazz, anyone? The track takes an unexpectedly early close and then picks back up again with a completely detached outro that makes up for its placement problems by being irresistibly catchy, something found as uncommonly on the album as celebrity divorces these days. “Bones” provides yet another creative outlet for Adebisi Shank’s general sound, with marching snares present amidst the now usual harmonic waltz bound to cause carpal-tunnel syndrome to listeners everywhere via excessive finger-tapping. The last couple of unique additions are in “Frunk” where a capella notes are added, in “Europa”, where Adebisi Shank’s rapid technicality is brought to its climax and pushed to its limit, and in “Century City”, which features some non-distorted bass that would make Evan Brewer blush.
The progression between Adebisi Shank’s earlier album and this one is clear. They have made the exact changes they needed to. Hugely expanding on their electronic effects and ability to create hi-speed tempos has transformed their songwriting into a giant multi-layered Gobstopper of an album, brighter and sweeter than ever before.