Coming together in 2007, Irish ensemble After the Ibis comprises a mammoth eight members. The Dublin based band features musicians Stevo Wickham, John Mason, Ads Page, Clare O’Kennedy, Eoin Gillard, Ray Cranley, Cormac Ó Conaire and Cillian Kennedy wielding a wide array of instruments that range from guitars to saxophones. Between them, they give life to a strikingly singular style, which draws influence from the worlds of reggae, jazz, soul and rock.
The octet have spent their time since forming putting on performances at venues and events scattered around the county, building up quite a name for themselves on the local live scene in the process. Their debut album, Busy Waiting, arrived in July of 2014, accompanied by a sell-out launch show at The Grand Social in Dublin. Having been produced stateside by Jim Fox, the record was met with critical acclaim upon its release.
The troupe’s new single, “Dig Up”, is taken from the inaugural compilation. It starts with laid back, lackadaisical instrumentation that develops behind a smooth and soothing harmony. The music instantly exhibits a strange synthesis of jazz and reggae that’s actually extremely effective. Strolling forward at a placid pace, its rhythm relaxes while the melody becomes increasingly theatrical and enthralling.
The woodwind execution perfectly complements that of the guitar, bass and drums, flawlessly fusing a number of genres that you wouldn’t expect to meld so well together. The vibrancy and vigour of the vocals escalates continuously as it goes on, making for some very stirring listening. It eventually all ends as peacefully as it began, putting a placid cap on the proceedings.
After the Ibis have carved out a sound for themselves that’s remarkably unique and original. The fact that it exhibits the characteristics of so many contrasting styles and manages to meld them so marvellously is extremely impressive. This song is the breath of fresh air you need, even if you don’t realise it yet.