For all we claim to do it, writing about actual music is a difficult task. Look at any album review. You’ll get a bit of back story, a bit of context, some discussion on the lyrics but precious little dissection of the music itself. That’s because the visceral emotion that a simple selection of notes can instil is often beyond words. With that in mind, we approach another all instrumental album from Adebisi Shank. Thankfully, there’s a bit of back story. Founding members of the Richter Collective community, their breakneck This Is The Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank debut made them unlikely globetrotters, based as it was on playing very flashy instrumentals very fast.
None of which prepares you for their second record. It’s long (by their standards anyway) and tears out of the blocks as we’ve come to expect. Instantly, though, it is clear that some degree of change is afoot. ‘International Dreambeat’ opens the record with the sound of cheap electronics before tearing your head off. ‘Masi’ repeats the trick, a metal tune for non-metallers with Satriania style guitar histrionics and a driving bass line. What is clear is that Adebisi Shank have taken their template and improved on it 1000%.
Delve further into the record, however, and more and more surprises reveal themselves. They can do melody, they can do subtle, most importantly they can do proper songs. Although the vocals that are present (courtesy of Conor O’Brien) are reduced to mere effects, the melodies present here will lodge themselves in your head. Far from recreating their live experience, this is a more complete band. Different instruments, sounds and rhythms come and go – ‘Genki Shank’ has overtones of The Police, while the looping hip-hop beat of ‘(-_-)’ is genuinely gorgeous – not a word that we would readily associate with Adebisi Shank. Best of all, when you feel that you’ve just about had enough (on ‘Century City’) the album stops.
So how did we do? The chances are that none of this can get close to conveying what an exciting, essential album this is. Not a note is wasted from start to finish and we can guarantee you now that this will be there or there abouts come the end of the year plaudits. Most importantly, not only have Adebisi Shank upped their own game, they’ve set the bar for everybody else as well. Fight Like Apes – the ball’s in your court.