Over the past eight years, Ikebe Shakedown has been breaking down the barriers of instrumental music one tune at a time, as sparkling '70s soul and raw funk sounds glide over cinematic westerns motifs and relentless grooves. It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly they land, but its definitely on their own feet, and those feet are cemented in a reputation as one of New York City’s boldest, most creative bands.
Now, after considerable time building their own analog studio (Hive Mind Recording), hitting the road with some of the most revered acts in the Brooklyn soul scene, and soaking in the wisdom that comes from day-in, day-out living in NYC, Ikebe Shakedown is back with their third LP, The Way Home, (Colemine Records), an album that takes these sensibilities to new heights and is successively pushing their cinematic instrumental style even further.
While the band has always been known for danceable grooves, The Way Home delves deeper into what it means to move people. As they put it, “We live in a city with a relentless pace. Sometimes, that demands music that gets you up and shaking, but it’s just as much about getting ourselves up everyday to take on this massive life in just a few square miles.” It's that joyful struggle that keeps the record from being just another love letter to New York. Says the band, “We set out to tell NYC that our feelings are a little more, well, complicated.”
Perhaps that's why each song tells its own story, from the get-off-your-ass snare hits of “Penny the Snitch” to “She’s Knocking,” with its quiet-morning start that transitions to a glorious call to arms. Or “Blue Giant,” which boxes like Ali, floating until it stings you with full-band jabs. And though there may be more subdued moments, no song ever goes completely still - because just like their city home, it never stops. As the band says, “We wanted some tracks to be for those predawn hours, when someone’s still out there, keeping the city humming.”
If you think you know Ikebe Shakedown, check out The Way Home and prepare to be awakened. And if you've never listened, welcome to a sound that's richly familiar but unlike anything you've heard before.