Ikebe Shakedown

Stone by Stone

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Immersed in the same scene that gave the world deep soul revivalists like the Dap-Kings, the Budos Band, Menahan Street Band, and more, seven-piece Brooklyn band Ikebe Shakedown take the Daptone label's vintage soul approach into more psychedelic and Afro-beat waters on blistering sophomore album Stone by Stone. Ikebe Shakedown always tended more toward Afro-funk sounds, even taking their name from a Nigerian boogie record, but Stone by Stone sees them injecting more textural production elements into their bounding horn arrangements and airtight rhythms. The changes in this phase of their development are apparent from the beginning moments of first track "The Offering," which sees almost every element of the slinky tune coated in vintage tape echo or spring reverb. The haunted tremolo effect that kicks in on the guitar during the choruses takes it from truncated Fela Kuti-esque groove enhancement into a spooky, stylized nod to the surf and rockabilly tones of decades prior. While the Afro-beat blueprint is foundational for many of the tunes, the band also calls on the influence of acid rock with the eerie organ and apocalyptic guitar lines of the slow-burning title track and blaxploitation soundtrack grooves, as on the wah-wah stumble of "Last Stand" or the echo-drenched percussion of "The Beast." Immaculate throwback production and flawless performances combine to help Stone by Stone read as an inspired, sometimes heavy, but always enjoyable slice of instrumental soul. The songs are danceable and funky even at their stormiest, and when the compositions are geared more toward lighthearted, joyful expression, they're unstoppable.

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