20 for ’14: Adebisi Shank – Mazel Tov

Part 18 of a 20 part rundown of my favourite tracks of last year

Well, this is just ridiculous.

If you ask me humanity needs to collectively agree to do the right thing and invest in preserving Prince’s brain (let’s not waste time worrying about consent – this is way too important) so that we may one day create an immortal musical cyborg. “But that’s madness,” you may well respond. In rebuttal I invite you to press play on the above youtube embedamajig and listen to Mazel Tov, the closest thing we have to a preview of what we can expect should we enact this radical plan o’ mine.

I rest my case.

This is the third album… turned out to be Adebisi Shank’s swansong, which with the benefit of hindsight sort of makes sense – though they had never been afraid to sound, shall we say, a little silly over the years they’d never actively courted the ludicrous like they did on ..Third.., and Mazel Tov is the weirdest and most unexpected product of that. The robot voice that acted as the closest thing they had to vocals over the band’s run is finally given a full pop song to itself, complete with 80s action movie sax, bouncy post-disco baseline and the catchiest non-human chorus you’re ever likely to here. It shouldn’t work; it’s a step to far, it’s too unironically joyful and earnest to even qualify as pastiche or parody. But then that’s why it works – they commit to it 100% and manage to distill pure, unadulterated joy down into digestible sonic form. As parting shots go Adebisi Shank nailed a perfect bullseye and bowed out, purposefully, on absolute peak form. Few bands can say the same.

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