Words About Music
Adebisi Shank “This is the Third Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank”
Though one can easily classify Adebisi Shank as a math rock band, all ties to that genre seem to have been severed on this, their ostensible third album. The term “math rock” implies complex polyrhythms and constant time-signature shifts. “Third Album” is fairly straight-forward, though don’t think of it as typical by any means. This album is uplifting, noisy, and ultra-electronic. It sounds like if Daft Punk got sucked into Mario Kart and had to defeat Rainbow Road in order to free themselves from the virtual realm. This album is bright and colorful in ways that surprised me, even though I’ve listened to Adebisi Shank several times before.
Adebisi Shank is a band that incorporates so many different sounds and styles that it’s hard to classify them. They credit their three members only to guitar, bass, and drums, but there are so many other sounds and instruments on this thing that it is obvious that each member does quite a bit more in the band. Also, though they classify themselves as instrumental, there are robotic vocals in several of these songs. Adebisi Shank carry themselves as a band that exists in a world where their sound is normal. “Third Album” is an excellent testament to their weirdness, though. 80s saxophones, drum machines, vocoders, and what I think might be a chopped CHVRCHES sample are peppered pervasively throughout this album. It’s an interesting throwback to classic video games, 80s synthpop sounds, and electronic dance music.
As enjoyable as Adebisi Shank and this album are, I would like to see them expand their sound into new directions. They’re very capable of experimentation. They certainly have the musical skill to do pretty much whatever they wanted. I wouldn’t even mind hearing them use clean vocals, though they’ve said that’s something they’ll never do. The band fits comfortably into their formula and that’s totally fine. It’s just that at some point you can’t release the same album over and over again. “Third Album” seems to represent a shift away from the crazy time-signatures and exploring more electronic sounds, so I certainly hope they keep moving in that direction. It’s also apparent to me that some of the songs on here feel more like ideas than songs, a complaint I had yesterday on Naomi Punk’s “Television Man.”
For the most part, “Third Album” is a great album for fans of Battles, Mylets, and Daft Punk’s most recent album. Though the band has definitely moved away from some of their earlier material, this third album is a perfectly likable robot-rock record. It’s an uplifting, crazy journey through several decades of musical experimentation that few bands can encapsulate in under 40 minutes. It’s a wild ride that I would certainly love to see performed in a live setting. If you’re one of those people that think electronic dance music is stupid because they “don’t play real instruments,”—which you’d be a complete moron for having that opinion anyway—then check this album out. This is my first review of a band called Adebisi Shank, and their new album rules.
SCORE – 8.0
FAVORITE TRACKS – World in Harmony, Big Unit, Turnaround, Mazel Tov, Sensation, Voodoo Vision