Level 42 The Second Time Around
Andre S. Grindle | Brewer Maine | 03/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No sophmore slump for this band;Level 42 only expand on their sound on 'Pursuit Of Accidents'.The album features the same musicians and as with the debut Mike Vernon is the producer.Unlike that first album though the spare,dreamy style of that recording is replaced by a much more busier sound and more uptempo tunes,upping the ante on the funk and jazz ends."Weave Your Spell" is a great example of this style,starting out on the funkiest note possible and NOT GIVING IT UP for five minutes.The title track is one of those instrumentals that is actually very melodic and vocal and really gives all the musicians a chance to play together;it particularly illustrates what a great drummer Phil Gould is by keeping his sound big and creative but never showy or pyrotechnical,which tends to be a jazz-fusion drumming stereotype.The next three cuts "Last Chance","Are You Hearing "What I Hear)? and my favorite "You Can't Blame Louis" find Level 42 mapping out the sound that would a few years later result in their big hits in the US;the ability to be jazzy,funky and contemporary all at the same time and each are terrific examples."Eyes Waterfalling" and "The Chinese Way" return to the same spastic funkiness that begins this album and find Mark King further innovations in perfecting the use of the bass guitar more like Bo Diddly used the guitar,a technique begun by Larry Graham a little more then a decade earlier.But Mark's slap bass style,emphazied heavily on 'Pursuit Of Accidents' and often the cornerstone of these songs,are often more rhythmic and drum like then many others.His ability to synthesize many substyles of slap bass into his arsenal is amazing (still is) and 'Pursuit Of Accidents' is definately one of those sophmore albums that represent a huge artistic step forward rather then musical stagnation.This is highly recommended."
The best Level 42 album of all!
Gilbert Ostler | Hamilton, Ontario, Canada | 12/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Pursuit of Accidents was Level 42's 2nd release, and as a musician and fan of Level 42 who owns virtually every recording they made, I can confidently say that this album exemplifies their funky, groovy style. Bassist Mark King is without doubt the most talented singer/bass player in pop music. Their songs are very well crafted; tuneful, groovy and lyrically thought provoking. This is one of those few bands that consistantly put out great album after great album. They rarely recorded a bad or mediocre track. If you listen to their output from Turn It On to Forever Now (a span of 16 or so years) you can hear the evolution and creative growth of one of the most innovative bands of the 80's"
If you get no other, GET THIS ONE!
Daniel Nesselroth | 09/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I belive that "The Pursuit of Accidents" was Level 42's best work of their career.
The production quality of this album resonates to this day. It was produced in 1982 but has a full, rich sound quality that put the next two albums, "Standing in the Light" and "True Colors" to shame. Both of those albums sounded as if they were recorded in a tin room when comapred to "Pursuit Of Accidents". There was little need to remaster this album, but it was eventually remastered and sold as a set with "Standing In the Light". Dave Bascombe and Gordon Milne are owed the credit for the slight cleanup they did in the mixes following Jerry Boys initial mixing, and of course Mike Vernon's skills made for a strong effort.
Level 42's "Pursuit of Accidents" could have been very different. They had started with a different producer originally and had begun work before abanonding most of it ("Can't Walk You Home" survived these first sessions but was not released until much later) to go with Vernon to make "Are You Hearing What I Hear", a masterwork of Level 42 music. Following that, they started a second effort to make their second album.
Aside from the amazing production quality of sound, the songs are incredible. They are ALL bass driven by Mark King. Unapologetically jazz fusion/funk, they are perhaps the best example of what makes Level 42 so unique: complexity. There is so much going on in every beat of each song that the ear constantly finds new things to enjoy even 24 years on. This complexity wavered a bit during their commercial pop period from 1985 through 1988, and is the reason many fans insist that the "true" Level 42 stuff was made from 1980 through 82. Unlike those later albums, "Pursuit" has several insturmental numbers, evidence that Level 42 never needed lyrics to write a good song..this is a skill that is becoming harder to find with each passing year.
The album opens with "Weave Your Spell", a bass driven song sung by Mike Lindup with a fringe of festival sounding whistles and reverbed yells by Mark King. It moves through several phases and as most stuff on this album, is not a standardized routine of chourus and verse over and over again.
The title track follows, and is a purely instrumental. While slightly long, it maintains a unique feel and shines as an example of the tightness of the original lineup.
"Last Chance" is a slightly-poppy-but-still-funky uptempo ballad. The song covers the sound spectrum from low bass notes through high end moog bleeps.
"Are You Hearing What I Hear" is perhaps my favorite Level 42 track off all time, and possibly the most complex production at that. Vernon started with them on this track and the increased effort of a new relationship is evident in the track. It's like an onion, with layer after layer of sound and an armada of percussion. It contains a frenzied break of toms and disco hat near the end, and the theme of the song is, at least as I interpret it, professional anxiety.
"You Can't Blame Louis" is another hardcore funk/jazz song with a compelling baseline, like "Are You Hearing", it's deeply layred and benefits from the incredible sound production quality.
"Eyes Waterfalling" is a classsic with fans and has a bass line that sounds almost like a prototype for "Lessons in Love" and "Something About You"..but faster. A very poetic theme about isolation.
"Shapeshifter" is another instrumental. It's a bit slow for funk, but is defineately a mood track.
The album is rounded out by "The Chinese Way", which is a popular selection in their catalouge. Personally I have always found the song to be slightly askew for some reason. The theme is odd for Level 42, although musically it has a great bassline with Mark showing great plucking skill rather than the expected slap bass.
The reason this ablum is so good is because it has everything you could want: Level 42 at the peak of their funk period, with amazing sound quality and of course, Wally Badarou. If you can only get 1 Level 42 album, this is the one you should get."