Review Summary: We can't help but play along.
Whenever a rock band makes the decision to incorporate more electronic elements in their music, the result can be polarizing. While some listeners can appreciate the experimental aspect and laud the band for being openminded in their approach, fans of older material can feel isolated, as though elements that made the band worthwhile were being cast aside in favour of something more commercialized. With This is the Third Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank
, the band utilizes electronic elements to the extreme, but in such a way that still feels familiar.
If their second album could be considered Adebisi Shank's gateway to electronic experimentation, this is the album where those efforts truly reach fruition. The synth work is at the forefront during the entire album, and it is executed to perfection. Despite the plethora of elements Adebisi Shank throws into the mix, they never feel ill-suited as though they were only included as an afterthought. Rather, everything works quite cohesively on this album, and the overall effect is invigorating. "World In Harmony" is almost anthemic, and serves as the album's opener. The song features thick, driving guitar work and synths reminiscent of Japanese video games. This song in particular is similar to Anamanaguchi, but with much more emphasis on incessant exhilaration and danceability.
"Turnaround" might prove to be a breath of fresh air for fans of Vincent McCreith's bass work. A common gripe regarding the band's second album is McCreith serving as little more than an accompaniment for the band's greater interests. "Turnaround" features an infectious bass line, but is still threatened by the all-encompassing electronic effects. "Sensation" is also a highlight for the bassist and is undeniably funky. Still, the bass work is left with little room to breathe as the fury of synths encroach on its territory. While the various electronic effects and melodies are varied enough throughout the album to give each track a distinct feel, they have a habit of overstaying their welcome. Yet, despite this, Adebisi Shank still manage to put a smile on your face. At the risk of making a complete and utter fool of yourself, you just might feel a sudden urge to dance without a second thought or consideration for your physical well-being. I would love to witness the spectacle that would inevitably occur during a live performance of "Sensation". While Third Album
sees the band breaking new ground instrumentally, the songs still feel on par with their first album in terms of momentum. As is tradition, Adebisi Shank never fails to hit you without warning. As the album nears a close on the second-last track "Voodoo Vision", we are blessed with a rather sobering piano line that serves as a respite. However, just as you might be tempted to recuperate, Adebisi Shank turns it up to eleven, true to their form.
This is the Third Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank
places heavy emphasis on danceable melodies and soaring synths, yet the math-rock trio still showcases a great deal of creativity, and they manage to sound consistently fresh throughout this release. While the overall effect is hindered slightly by a lack of emotional dynamic, it is forgivable, as the overwhelming energy they put into this album is infectious, whether you like it or not. Adebisi Shank risk isolating fans by embracing their electronic sound wholeheartedly, yet we can't help but play along. Indeed, as the final track "(trio always)" brings the album to a satisfying conclusion, I am reminded of when I first read the closing credits to Contra, after being hit with a seemingly never-ending combination of adrenaline and euphoria. Despite the exhausting journey, a part of me wished I could experience it again, and I did. I played the game many times in my youth, and each time I felt a sort of masochistic relief when the credits rolled, only to anticipate my next play through.
Thank you, Adebisi Shank. I forgot how much I loved that game.