Level 42 Is A Debut To Remember
Andre S. Grindle | Brewer Maine | 03/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whether your a newcomer or only own their greatest hits album 'Level 42' is an album you will want to have.Having already recorded before Level 42 proved to be the Brit Funk movenemnts answer to the American trend of "sophisti-funk" acts such as Heatwave,The Whispers,The Brothers Johnson and Con Funk Shun.The one difference is that like their US contempories Steely Dan and The Dooibie Brothers,rather then relying on more blues based horn funk for inspiration Level 42 take more cues from jazz.'Level 42' emphasized heavy leflon slickness and polyphonic synthesizer arrangements.Every song is extremely strong and features very lean,economical production values."Turn It On",the first song on the album and the closing "Starchild" really typifies the sound;a lot of space,keyboard and bass solos and an overwelming dreaminess.Even taken at ballad pace "Why Are You Leaving" and the instrumental "Heathrow" emphasize these qualities even better,with the latter actually gaining a hardcore groove around the middle."Almost There",the hit "Love Games" and another insturmental "42" all focus on mean,chunky grooves.That leaves "Dune Tune",the third instrumental here that really showcases the bands jazzy,musicianly side.Another important aspect of Level 42 that this debuts showcases in abundance is that that Mark King,the bands inventive,percussive slap bassist and keyboard player Mike Lindup are both superb songwritings-capable of penning music that is funky,jazz and passionate while always demonstrating carefully crafted tunesmithship.Between the bands own keyboardist Mike Lindup and "longterm guest" Wally Badarou 'Level 42' is so dominated by synthetic keyboard polyphony that many have accused the bands type of jazz-funk as being somehwhat cold and sterile.And even if you find that to be so you just aren't going to be able to fault the passion,longing and humanity found in Mark King's emotional voice and lyrics:"It's time for honesty,I can see there's someone else" he sings at one point.If there is one thing that is often said about the early 80's R&B in general is that it lacked heart and innovation;again even for them all you really have to do is step into the songs and grooves of 'Level 42' for a STRONG refreshment!"
A True Classic !
Michael Balazki | Petaluma, CA USA | 10/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've listened to this album 1,000 times. It's timeless. Level 42 was at their best up until their "crossover" in 1986 or 1987 with Running in the Family.
Level 42, The Early Tapes, Pursuit of Accidents, True Colours, A Physical Presence, Standing In The Light are their best albums."