Ibibio Sound Machine - Pull The Rope
This is a pre-order item and is expected 3rd May 2024.
Pull the Rope, the new record by Ibibio Sound Machine, casts the Eno Williams and Max Grunhard–led outfit in a new light. The hope, joy, and sexiness of their music remain, but, further honing the edge of their acclaimed 2022 album Electricity, the connection they aim to foster has shifted venues from the sunny buoyancy of a sunlit festival to a sweat-soaked, all-night dance club.
Williams and Grunhard attribute this shift to a matter of collaborators, recording Pull the Rope with Sheffield-based producer Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, M.I.A.) over the course of two weeks. The way the pair wrote songs changed significantly rather than Eno penning lyrics to music generated by Max and company’s jamming, Orton started with Eno and Max writing together before adding the band. With less time in the studio
and a new way of considering how they built songs, the duo found making decisions about Pull the Rope’s sound quicker and more instinctual than before.
“Ross is from Sheffield, which has an edgier, more industrial vibe than London,” Grunhard explains. “He hears things differently than us, is more grounded in rave and grungier sounds, and knew when to add drums or push the instrumentation more. It was very different for us, but it lends itself to where Ibibio Sound Machine is going.”
In melding their songwriting process, Grunhard and Williams have, impossibly, pulled the trick of making Ibibio Sound Machine a tighter band than ever before, building out from their core in a way that highlights the electrifying group of musicians they play with. Rather than recording with the full band in the room, Pull the
Rope was sculpted, elements added and shaped by Grunhard, Williams, and Orton along the way. As a result, Pull the Rope is a nimble, sleek machine that’s thrilling from the first note of the opening title track, Eno’s otherworldly voice and PK Ambrose’s throbbing bass driving through a kaleidoscopic array of house, post-punk, funk, Afrobeat and disco, bangers and ballads, making an argument for unity that begins on the dancefloor. “We are the places we grew up, the places we’ve been, and the people we’ve met along
the way,” Williams says. “Hopping around the globe, we’ve found that people are fundamentally the same they’re people. Opposing sides push and pull, but there is an alternative to war, violence, and suffering.”
Lead single “Got to Be Who U Are” literally globetrots, name checking locales across the world that would feel disparate were it not for how well-traveled they are. Eno growing up in the musical melting pot of the Ibibio region of Nigeria and Max being a conservatory-trained musician from Australia, one could call their meeting in London and formation of Ibibio Sound Machine predestined.
“Mama Say” and “Let My Yes Be Yes” touch themes of female empowerment. They’re indicative of the band’s depth as they push further into the electronic; “Mama Say” hits notes of electropop while “Let My Yes Be Yes” fuses electro to Afrobeat. Ibibio Sound Machine have always imbued their music with political consciousness, and the light that shines through in Williams’ vocals and voice has never felt more necessary. The sound of Pull the Rope, then, is hope in darkness, bliss in spite of bleakness. Once again, Ibibio Sound Machine are here to provide the soundtrack to the best night of your life, and the better world to come.
1. Pull the Rope
2. Got to Be Who U Are
4. Them Say
5. Political Incorrect
6. Mama Say
7. Let My Yes Be Yes
8. Touch the Ceiling
9. Far Away
10. Dance in the Rain
Artist: Ibibio Sound Machine
Genre: Latin, African & International
Format: Vinyl LP
Cat Number: MRG845LPC1
Released: 8th May 2024