Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

Ibibio Sound Machine – Protection from Evil

Good has prevailed…


Thomas Inskeep: Hearing ISM’s Eno Williams flip between the Nigerian Ibibio language and English, while her bandmates and producers Hot Chip go ham on funky electronics, is the epitome of a thrill. This isn’t a mere sugar or caffeine rush, this is pure cocaine converted into a thumping, throbbing-like-Moroder jam, and it might well be 2022’s best single so far.

Tim de Reuse: Hot Chip-produced, huh? Al Doyle on synths? Ibibio Sound Machine plus a healthy dose of analogue synth fetishism? There’s no reason these two things cannot live in harmony, in principle. But there’s a strange tension between the swing of the descending trumpet lines in the latter half and the sequencer-controlled modular synth that menaces the bassline, with one full of energy and one tightly controlled for a long dance-punk buildup. It sounds more like a remix than a collaboration: two groups of people, each doing their own thing, not quite clicking with each other. At least they are all good at their respective things.

Ian Mathers: If I hadn’t already known that Hot Chip produced the whole LP, on the basis of the sound of “Protection From Evil” I might have guessed Holy Fuck instead. That is not even remotely a complaint (in either direction), and the result is a great example of a great band producing another already great band.

Alfred Soto: I’m torn thinking about how I’d dance the fuck out of “Protection from Evil” and recoiling from the Remain in Light/My Life in the Bush of Ghosts distortions.

Nortey Dowuona: Most of the pedestrian drums lying at the bottom of the many faux-African bands started by Europeans undermine their every effort, but up till “Protection,” this wasn’t a problem for Ibibio Sound Machine. Unfortunately, the dulling kicks and flat snares undermine the seething synth baseline and the frizzing synths. Eno Williams’ awkward, stumbling voice tries find a rhythm until she gives up and starts the refrain, in which the whole composition finally comes alive. When the drums are removed from the final bars, Eno repeats the refrain, and the song bursts aflame and bright, blinding you constantly.

Katherine St Asaph: Others will write about how much of an electricity-to-nerves rush this is. I’m just here stunned by the truth in title: how colossal an accomplishment it is these days for a song to make me feel, truly and viscerally, protected from evil.

Scott Mildenhall: Arrestingly jagged, summoning electricity from every sinew, “Protection from Evil” is an ideal marriage of two unique bands letting loose. There’s no corner they don’t reach; it’s a room fit to burst with the doors still safely closed.

Reader average: [5.66] (3 votes)

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