It is a singular pleasure for a music fan when the first few bars of previously unheard music tell you that this is a record you are going to like a lot. From the opening gutsy riff of "Blue Balls and Niclas Knudsen's down 'n' dirty guitar lines, Absinthe,
the third album from Danish band Ibrahim Electric, proves to be one of those records that gets under your skin and into your blood faster than a Ganges parasite.
The challenge for any groove-based Hammond/guitar/drum trio is in not sounding repetitive, after all, there are only so many ways you can vary the order of the solos. Another challenge is to avoid sounding like every other Hammond-led band that has come before. On both scores Ibrahim Electric emerge with nearly full marks on Absinthe.
If you forgive the fact that the underlying groove of "Splash sounds a lot like Booker T and the MGs' "Green Onions then you are left with a highly enjoyable bluesy workout, with Knudsen and Hammond B-3 man Jeppe Tuxen trading great solos. Ibrahim Electric shifts from blues to the rollicking jam-band funk of "En Kold Fra Kassen, a ten-minute track that comes closest to recreating the quite awesome energy of this trio in concert. "Lobi, with its irresistible guitar motif and cantering percussion, could be the soundtrack for a spaghetti western in Mali.
On Absinthe Ibrahim Electric really mix it up nicely. African and Arabic sounds rub shoulders with '70s TV show-theme pastiche and gritty, sluttish guitar vies with raucous B3 over a lively percussive pulse. Few trios these days combine swinging grooves, raw intensity and musicianship quite as successfully as Ibrahim Electric do on Absinthe.
Personnel: Jeppe Tuxen: Hammond B-3; Niclas Knudsen: electric guitar; Stefan Pasborg: drums; Rune Olesen: percussion.