REVIEW: Ebony Steel Band – Pan Machine

REVIEW: Ebony Steel Band – Pan Machine

The sound of steel drums has a delicate chiming appeal, often taking your mind away to the shores of the Caribbean and similar holiday havens with none cloudy skies and clear blue seas. London based Ebony Steel Band introduce this sunshine music in a slightly surprising format as they celebrate their 50th anniversary with their take on German’s finest electro outfit Kraftwerk.

Pan Machine is the fruits of Record Collector editor Ian Shirley’s challenge to the band to cover material from 1973’s Ralf & Floran to 1983’s well versed Tour De France. The results are a joyous revelation of usage of steel drums. The similarity of the synthesizers is uncanny, fitting in with these versions supremely well. The melodies translate expertly throughout the set delivering wonderfully complex soundscapes effortlessly.  

There is a charisma surrounding each number featured, highlights include Neon Lights. The original version had a haunting late night romantic quality which is not lost on the version presented here. Tanzmusic is a surprisingly splendid inclusion instantly lightening the mood, the chime of steel drums catapult the listener to a contented place of wonder.

Further well known anthems The Model, The Robots and Computer Love all feature with further revelatory results, leaving no doubt that the band have captured the essence of Kraftwerk’s work. The album sleeve is shot by legendary snapper (Paul Weller / Noel Gallagher) Lawrence Watson showcasing the band outfitted in the well-known descending pose in red shirts with black ties, resulting in a release that is a complete triumph.

You can purchase the album from OM Swagger Records website.