Thursday, April 7, 2011
[alarmpress.com] Fusing the distinguished guitar harmonies of Fang Island with the electronic whimsy of Battles, Adebisi Shank is producing a compelling new brand of electronic rock. The cover of its new album, the whimsically titled This is the Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank, is an apt analog to its music: a geometric, computer-generated landscape trod upon by galloping zebras.
Musically, the band is a quasi-epiphany, with moments of freak-out abandon and tightly wound melodic passages — yet the dynamic Irish trio’s modesty belies its bombastic style.
“Irish people are very self-deprecating,” drummer Mick Roe explains. “We sometimes don’t really understand why people would like something you create, especially since it’s kind of weird music.”
Here, the weird music that Roe references expands the traditional rock setup of guitar, bass, and drums to include synthesizers, horns, vocoders, and ensemble percussion into its multi-layered albums. The band’s most recent record, Second Album for short, is a wild synthesis of those sounds, with melodies, hooks, and rampaging riffs aplenty.
Twice as long as its predecessor, Adebisi Shank’s self-described “double album” was first released to European audiences in 2010 through DIY Irish label Richter Collective (co-founded/owned by Roe). It received a North American release in March of 2011 via independent label / management company Sargent House, enabling the band to expand its vision stateside. But more importantly, Second Album showcases the band’s maturation from nervous, wide-eyed fans to seasoned studio vets.
The trio recorded its debut album in nine days alongside J. Robbins, a producing dynamo, post-punk dignitary, and one of the band’s childhood idols. Thus the pressure to perform in the studio was exacerbated.
“If you can imagine playing your instrument in front of your musical hero… it’s so daunting,” Roe says. Although the entire process seemed fraught with unnecessary stress, working with Robbins also yielded a renewed sense of confidence in the band’s ability to experiment with different sounds. The resultant debut album, This is the Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank, was released in 2008 via Richter Collective.
In its recorded collections, Adebisi Shank demonstrates an emphasis on technical instrumentation and a tasteful layering of unconventional sounds. The band isn’t bound by feasibility of live reproduction. If it sounds good in the studio, it goes on the record.
“It frees up your mind a bit,” Roe says, “if you don’t say while you’re recording, ‘Oh, we’ll never be able to do this live; let’s not do this idea.’ We don’t want to have a carbon copy of what we do in the studio to what we do live. We like them both to be separate.”
On stage, guitarist Lar Kaye and bassist Vin McCreith use whammies on certain harmonies, giving them a vibrato quality. McCreith also uses an Eventide Pitchfactor for harmonies in “International Dreambeat” and “Genki Shank” and uses an unusual arpeggiated delay and other synth sounds for tracks like “Europa” (all from Second Album). Additionally, Roe wires a laptop to his kick drum that enables him to control other instruments during live performances. The benefit of this trigger-based setup can be heard in the arpeggiated phoneme sequence in “International Dreambeat.”
READ THE ENTIRE FEATURE/INTERVIEW HERE.
Posted by Dan Goldin at 11:09 PM