Ibibio Sound Machine Announce New Album, “Pull the Rope”

Ibibio Sound Machine Announce New Album, "Pull the Rope"
Ibibio Sound Machine Photo by Matilda Hill-Jenkins

Ibibio Sound Machine, the swaggering dance outfit led by singer Eno Williams and multi-instrumentalist Max Grunhard, return with their most urgent, enchanting collection to date, Pull the Rope, out May 3, 2024 on Merge Records. The announcement is accompanied by news of their biggest UK tour to date, as well as a video for lead single “Got to Be Who U Are,” which captures the night-of-your-life vibe of Ibibio Sound Machine on stage.

Produced by Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, M.I.A.) and Grunhard, Pull the Rope finds Ibibio Sound Machine pushing beyond the sonic frontier established by their acclaimed 2022 album Electricity, with elements of post punk and Chicago house giving Williams’ rapturous vocals a timeless edge. New bangers like “Got to Be Who U Are” would be just as intoxicating in 1984 or 2044 as it is today.

bibio Sound Machine, on the thematic and sonic roots of the single:

“‘Got to Be Who U Are’ is about the idea that what brings us together is stronger than what separates us. No matter where we may go, we will always carry the essence of who we are in our hearts, and yet the places and things that separate us are not as important as we may be led to believe. Be happy and proud of who or what you are. Musically, the track begins by stating its message over a traditional African mbira part and then drops into a similar vocal except now over more of an electronic dance vibe which is meant to have an uplifting tone to it to carry along the message that we may be in Europe, Africa or America, but a simple sound or thought can instantly connect us. The places mentioned in the chorus “Surulere, Isale Eko, Ikoyi, Yaba” are all areas in Lagos, Nigeria where Eno grew up. The different parts of the music are connected even though they are using totally different sounds, symbolizing movement of people across the world and the fundamental connection between places and people no matter where one may be.”

Ibibio Sound Machine’s tour of the UK kicks off in May.

May 22 Portsmouth, UK – Wedgewood Rooms
May 23 Norwich, UK – Arts Centre
May 25 Birkenhead, UK – Future Yard
Jun 05 Cambridge, UK – Junction 2
Jun 06 London, UK – KOKO
Nov 08 Bristol, UK – SWX
Nov 09 Leeds, UK – Project House
Nov 14 Brighton, UK – Concorde 2
Nov 15 Manchester, UK – Academy 2
Nov 16 Dublin, IE – Whelan’s
Nov 18 Edinburgh, UK – Summerhall
Nov 19 Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms

Stream “Got to Be Who U Are” HERE.


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