nail my colours to the mast right away and say that I’m always
excited to hear a new Incognito CD. Having been a fan since
1981 and having had the pleasure of interviewing leader Bluey
a few years ago, my love of this band’s music shows no signs
So, it’s 2012 and instead of having a piece of vinyl to
cherish, I have a download courtesy of Shanachie Records to
carefully file and write about.
Let’s jump straight in and ride the incredible groove of ‘The
Less you Know’. I don’t have musician credits but I don’t need
them to recognise the silky, sexy voice of Maysa Leak and I
don’t think she has ever sounded better. The production is
flawless with lots of room for drums, bass, snazzy horns and
that gorgeous vocal. The breakdown makes the hairs on my neck
stand up! And when the JB-style snare snaps in to announce
‘Goodbye to Yesterday’ it’s clear that the dancing is set to
continue. A male lead vocal, some sneaky rhythm guitar and
some even sneakier horns and you’ve got a recipe for success.
That piano intro on ‘Above the Night’ has a lovely old-school
feel and the tempo is more relaxed than on the first two
songs. The horns are more muted too and they leave the
spotlight for some truly outstanding female vocals. This time
it’s not Maysa but, whoever she is, this girl can sing! The
title track is – I’m going to say it – a hark back to the
golden days of disco. That four-on-the-floor beat, great keys,
great horns, strings and the lushest of background vocals just
sweep you away. A real good-time dance track. God… lovely.
Right in the pocket is the lovely, funky ‘Capricorn Sun’ which
shines the spotlight on Maysa. I love the groove, I love her
scat vocals – I love it!! ‘Don’t Wanna Know’ is a pacy vocal
with some strong male lead vocals. It’s got a great, catchy
chorus too – how does Bluey keep doing it?
I love the moody intro to the chunky ‘Restless as we Are’. The
female vocals are very sweet and this song really does get
under your skin. The keyboards are offbeat and really grab
your attention. The instrumental ‘Rivers on the Sun’ is a busy
slice of classic jazz-funk in the way that Incognito does
better than pretty much everyone. Once the trombone solo kicks
in, it’s all over – resistance is futile!
The lazy ‘Don’t Break me Down’ takes you back into vocal
territory and lets you get your breath back. It’s one of
several songs on this CD that I feel I’ll be listening to
happily for years to come… ‘The Stars from Here’ is a short
and sweet Latin-influenced number which has the prettiest,
most romantic feel.
The lush intro to ‘To Be With You’ belies the energy that’s
coming along in another 6-minute uptempo groover. Played as
the second song in a live set, this would stun people. It’s
up, up, up all the way. Let’s hear the drums kick on ‘This
Must be Love’. This funky vocal track would make great single
Sinewy bassline, stabbing but controlled horns, dancing
percussion – who gives you all this every time out? Incognito.
‘The Way you Love’ for me sums up the way this band combines
the best of old-school feel and modern production values to
provide an intoxicating experience for the head and feet.
Lord, I got carried away there! The album ends on the same
groovy note that it began with the almost unbearably tight
‘Thoughtful Fantasies’. This bouncy instrumental has great
soprano sax, trombone and keyboard solos. Check the percussion
breakdown too. The mix sounds ‘live’ and if the band perform
this on their current tour, folks will go nuts!
Ah people – if you love Incognito, this will be manna for your
soul. It’s exotic, familiar, soothing and exhilarating all at
the same time. If you don’t love Incognito, well it’s time you
did. You have a lot of catching up to do…
Producer – Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick