Adebisi Shank ‘This is the Third Album by a Band Called Adebisi Shank’ – Review
This is indeed the third album by a band called Adebisi Shank and it’s an album full of gleeful madness, distilled through some old circuitry and whatever else the Wexford lads must have had lying around at the time. When a band cites a range of influences that include Enya, Game of Thrones and Crash Bandicoot games then you know you’re in for a weird and wonderful ride and it’s appropriate that the album is eight and a bit tracks long (the last track trio always is a bit of an afterthought to Voodoo Vision that precedes it but more of that anon). For that 8 bit sound is stamped all over the album, along with a whole host of vocals that have been processed through a vocoder. The overall effect is that the album mostly sounds like one long 80’s computer game; and a really fun 80’s computer game at that.
Opening track World In Harmony sets the template for what’s to follow, leading with those robotic elements and veering through peaks and troughs of noise before going out in a blaze of glory. It’s a tune that grabs the attention and draws the listener in, making them want to hear more and those inquisitive souls will be rewarded for their curious nature.
Big Unit is, well…big! Full of spacey riffs and pounding beats, it changes pace a few times when one least expects it before wandering off in a different, delightful direction. Elsewhere Turnaround is a cacophonic, breakneck bundle of fun that features a nice accordion cameo from guitarist Lar Kaye’s father Leonard.
The additional instruments that pop up on a couple of tunes do keep things interesting and manage to keep the synth, guitar and vocoder shenanigans from becoming monotonous. There’s some great brass on Mozel Tov, a tune that wouldn’t sound out of place in a zany 80’s rom-com or adventure yarn that never got made – something like Three Men Go Back To The Future and Have Adventures In Babysitting. Who wouldn’t pay to see that movie?
There are new ideas in pretty much every track on the album, Thundertruth is like a nursery rhyme that harnesses the childlike quality that drifts through the whole album. But the best track is essentially the last track. Voodoo Vision is an absolute beast, with anthemic guitar and syth trading licks before everything breaks down and all that can be heard is a luscious piano melody and those processed vocals. After all that has gone before, this is a moment of unexpected, gentle beauty, another surprise on a record that is full of them. Of course the song does explode back in to life before seguing into trio always almost unnoticed for the briefest of moments.
So that is the third album and they are a band called Adebisi Shank. They’re playing Whelan’s on 25 September and on the evidence of this album and their older output, that’s sure to be a seriously fun night.