highbrowse.ie
  Twitter Facebook
  Reviews | Gig Listings
This is the second album of a band called Adebisi Shank
Adebisi Shank This Is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank
Released 27 August 2010
Producer Adebisi Shank, Stephen J. Caffrey
Label Richter Collective
Length 39:05
Genre Dance rock
Website myspace.com/adebisishank
75

It's not often that an album comes along that leaves you feeling genuinely excited about the state of Irish music, but that's just the kind of effect Adebisi Shank seem to be having on people these days. As the name cleverly suggests, this is the infamously 'difficult second album' from a band who produced both an exciting first EP and a thrilling debut effort. Their live shows are what first got them noticed, as they fuelled the rumour mill as one of Ireland's greatest live acts, displaying so much energy and skill that they had a very healthy reputation before they ever got a record out. They are now regulars on the live circuit across Ireland, the UK, Europe and even Japan, where their heavy rock and complex ability mean they are exciting as purveyors of post/math rock (or whatever you want to call it) across the whole world. And I feel proud in saying that the three guys that make up Adebisi Shank; Lar Kaye, Vinny McCreith and Mick Roe, are from Wexford. On the same label as similar artists (in ways), Redneck Manifesto, the Richter Collective label, the band have elements of guitar prodigy- complex solos and beautiful melodies like the Manifesto, and also have hints of Battles, in their liking for electronic sounds and synths mixed with rock, and generally creating a new and exciting sound that is refreshingly original.

Listening to their first album, named This is the Album of a Band called Adebisi Shank, I found myself headbanging (not so) quietly as I sat in a study room pretending to work- and left me bursting with enthusiasm as I instantly felt the urge to share these guys’ music with anyone who would listen. That album was a frenetic, complex and interesting blend of so many rock styles; post-punk, math rock, tinges of classic rock, funk, blues, and punk, that I began to think that I was maybe inventing new genres in my head in an effort to describe how wonderful their music is, and what kind of effect it had on me. What really stood out for me though was not how to categorise their music, but the raw energy and extremely impressive skill that each individual band member had, and how it all fit together like a jigsaw. More than anything, when you listen to this album, I defy you not to have a burning desire to see them live, as so much energy on stage must truly be something to behold.

So the 'difficult' second album was fraught with danger, as starting out on such a high created potential for a long drop to the bottom. However somehow, they have outdone themselves, maintaining the high-octane beats, riffs and solos of good, heavy rock, displaying impressive skill individually, and are now branching out in different directions, as there is a strong influence of electro and synths throughout the album. Their song-writing ability also seems to have progressed, as there is a definite cyclical feel to the album as a whole, toning it down at the right points, bursting open just when needed, and each song has its own unique charm and surprises. Stephan J. Caffrey produces this album, and I believe he has to be given credit for his work, as there's not one note or dynamic out of place that doesn't add something as a whole to the album. Compared to the first album again, this one feels more upbeat and confident, as Vinny McCreith on bass spends a lot of time creating weird and wonderful synth bleeps, which melds with maniacal guitar solos and pounding drums. Jape and Conor O'Brien of Villagers also guest on the album, mainly lending distorted vocals to some tracks.

It's hard to even pick high points in this album, as each song excites and bewilders in the best manner possible. But to pick some that highlight the band's best aspects, the ingeniously named track '(-_-)' acts as an interlude and a respite from the bustling and aggressive guitar-driven tracks that open the album. This track could be classed as ambient electronica, opening with an echoing drum beat and richly toned guitar lullaby, mixed then with vocoders and gentle synth sounds like raindrops, layer upon layer creating a gorgeous, dream-like track that you would never have expected from a band that seem perfectly at home with heavy metal riffs and screaming guitar solos. Similarly 'Logdrum' has strong synth elements, sounding at times like a computer game and sliding into an Asian influenced melody. 'Century City', the last track on the album, allows Vinny to display his other talent for playing bass, with a sexy bass line that any funk-lover can sink their teeth into, while the simple sudden stops and starts and warm electric guitar solo will have you fist thumping and hair swirling as the album comes to a close. Finally 'Masa' is an example of a song that displays Lar's supreme talent on guitar, Mick's energetic drumming and the band's ability to rock, with crazy crescendos of electric guitar, pulverising drum beats and stomping riffs.

Adebisi Shank has vision, talent and huge potential, so do yourself a favour and don't just get this album- get everything they have made so far, go see them live, and support a great Irish band.

- Eadaoin Browne