After grooving together for a full decade, Ikebe Shakedown proves that they are not slowing down any time soon with Kings Left Behind
For the uninitiated, Ikebe Shakedown is a vibrant outfit out of Brooklyn that’s known for their unique kaleidoscopic take on soulful funk, Afrobeat and skronky jazz, which they use to absolutely tear down any venue that attempts to contain them.
On what is their fifth full-length record, the band is as tight as ever. It is impossible to not get captivated by their scorching jams, which includes soulful horns raging over spicy drumming and guitars that are marinated in just enough reverb and fuzz to give them a tastefully psychedelic edge. In short, there isn’t a single weak performance to be found anywhere on this addictive record. Perhaps the only downfall is that the grooves are so insatiable, you’d wish that each track was at least 10 times longer (even if each tune exceeded the one hour mark!)
While the entire LP is a joy, there are moments that are heavier than others. Take for example, “Over My Head,” which posseses a strong melancholic vibe, which is hammered home further by the addition of sympathetic strings. Some bands have taken a similar approach within this genre and ended up with something a bit melodramatic or even cheesy, but Ikebe Shakedown applies the strings here subtley, so they don’t ever overtake the funk nor the original melody. This is very crucial, as the melody of the tune is the track’s heart. It’s rich with a wistful longing that reaches you on a visceral level. In this way, the arrangement never appears disingenuious, much like an instrumental version of a Bill Withers or Etta James tune.
Even though we’re already half-way done with August, I think it’s fair to say that Kings Left Behind is the perfect summer album of 2019. The entire record is a total party that makes you feel like you’re smack in the middle of a beach gig. So why not grab it now, drive to your nearest body of water and crank it up loud and proud?