Review Summary: Laying the foundations.
Adebisi Shank isn’t an easy band to define. For the sake of simplicity you could pigeonhole them as experimental rock, but this would give new listeners practically no idea of what to expect from a 3 piece band that create some of the most energetic instrumental music ever put to record. Possessing the intensity of Post Hardcore, the prominent basslines of Post Punk, and the frantic nature of Math Rock, Adebisi Shank have concocted a potent and original combination. Five years on and with two excellent albums under their belt using the above template as their formula, how does their debut EP ‘This is the EP of a Band Called Adebisi Shank’ compare?
Opener ‘Horse’ features heavy cymbal work and a fuzzy, distorted bass riff that meanders along before exploding into a 'Mathy' rage at the one minute forty mark. Utilising this as the songs chorus, it’s not until the last thirty seconds that the song reaches its full potential, as a wall of sound descends via a flurry of heavy guitars and excellent work by drummer Michael Roe. Featuring what we’ve come to recognise as a typical Adebisi Shank opening riff (see ‘Colin Skehan’, and ‘Shunk’), album highlight ‘You Shouldn’t be in White’ starts strongly. They embrace their breakneck Math Rock tendencies after a minute and a half and continue the seemingly unrelenting pace set previously; that is until we reach the last minute of the song. Finishing on a high in the form of a beautiful fading outro, it is both unexpected and powerful, due primarily to the aural assault that preceded it.
Despite the above positives, closing song ‘Caddyshank’ is fairly poor in comparison to the other tracks present here. Two minutes of abrasive noise are finally replaced by a calm interlude, which proves to be the track’s finest moment. It builds to a frustratingly empty climax, as the distortion feels overused and platitudinous, never coming close to reaching the heights expected of it.
Even though EPs are traditionally significantly shorter than full lengths; ‘This is the EP of a Band Called Adebisi Shank’ clocks in at an impressive sixteen minutes. Made even more impressive by the fact that their debut album is only five minutes longer, their debut EP is certainly a worthwhile listen for those unfamiliar with their early material. When trying to identify differences between this and their album releases, few of significance can be found. The production is a little muddier and the guitar and bass are slightly more distorted than on their other works, but for the most part the blueprint that Adebisi Shank adopt and utilize has strayed very little from the path. With ‘This is the EP of a Band Called Adebisi Shank’, Adebisi Shank test the waters with their unique sound and style, and deliver more hits than misses, hinting at the greatness that was to come.