[11 April 2011]
World, meet Adebisi Shank: the most fun you can have with your clothes on since the zipper was invented. A word-of-mouth juggernaut in their native Ireland, simply put, this Wexford trio is a jaw-dropping live prospect, as you could easily imagine listening to their 2008 debut. The follow-up, however, is a whole other level.
Consummating a hitherto unspoken theme quietly building in the dutifully scholastic Irish Noise scene, here Adebisi break from the calculated fret-puzzle trappings of their contemporaries for an almighty bout of outrageousness, obsoleting ten of your favourite rock acts in the process. Released on forward-thinking Dublin-based label Richter Collective, the glitchy, mega-math tour-de-force This Is The Second pits their debut’s back-breaking tropical patterns against Yngwie Malmsteen, the Wham City sound, Marnie Stern, Queen, Boston, God, The Devil, Captain America, the Russians, and a 4000-horse chariot bound for the year 2525. Furious, invincible, breathtaking and ridiculous, This Is The Second does for math-rock what Gabba did for Kraftwerk.
Within 30 seconds of Shank heavyweights “International Dreambeat” and “Masa”, their counterparts in the field—Don Caballero, That Fucking Tank, and Battles—taste like sour milk. After 40 minutes in the company of the Shank machine, by contrast, the competition play like a church organ set to a sermon on the importance of classical training, and that includes the impish latter two. Neither stand up to the sheer vitality on show throughout Adebisi’s second album, a lurid but refined starburst of helium-charged, candy-coloured power-metal.
Released to almost universal acclaim, Adebisi phase two offers an awesome display of musicianship with a nigh-on intergalactic galactic sweep, both untrammelled and luxuriant next to their previous effort. A full-throttle mashtronica monster of vocoders, shredding taps, pulverising Albini-esque riffs, it’s delivered with infectious relish, with the combo emerging at the other end sated and superhuman and as always good natured. Parallels can be drawn to fellow Irish instrumentalists ASIWYFA, who, like Adebisi’s spin on math-rock, ply a carnivorous punk veraciousness without straying too far the original code. In both cases, the bands have managed to advance their respective genres by means of a heavy fabulousness.
If they are unable to sustain the frenzied pitch, as they ease back on side B their already apparent melodic nous is accentuated on beatific, cresting lovelies “(-_-)” and “Logdrums” (featuring drum and bass rhythms, no less), before closer “Century” underlines the album in deep black with a nod to the dry mouthed, sea-sick technical math that lined their debut. An implacable, cutting edge fireball of world-class math-rock. Still not convinced? “Genki Shank” awaits you, infidel.