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If you have found this blog, it probably means you were searching for something that isn’t in the public eye. My intention is to promote awareness of artists that you would otherwise likely never know existed. If you like what you hear, support the artist by purchasing their music so that they can continue to create, and enjoy the release in the quality they intended.

Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Axis of Metal.

Level 42 – Level 42

Posted by T. Bawden Friday, 4 June 2010


Level 42 – Level 42 – 3.5/5
{Link removed due to Request}

Initially intrigued by the sublime bass work of Mark King, this is one jazz-funk band that - despite the high level of talent shown by its members - results in a listen that feels too ‘easy,’ or too simplistic. As though they have failed to truly push themselves to the limits of what they are capable of producing, and despite a number of strong tracks results in an album that somehow feels below what they are capable of.

The bass succeeds in being fairly prominent, if perhaps not quite prominent enough, as it is often his bass lines that supply most of the boisterous funk groove that is so integral to many of the tracks. No stranger to the ‘slap and pop’ technique, his presence is often the most technical feeling, and despite this never feels pointless, the melody being the focus. Vocals are featured on roughly half the tracks, and never become too dominant. With a smooth tone it really assists the flow of the slower tracks, and creates something emotional, even if not a dominant presence.

The keyboards are often used an atmospheric backing, though occasionally get to strut their stuff (e.g. Almost There), and they often succeed in adding depth to what could otherwise be quite a thin sound, but too often fail to add something memorable. Similar can be said for the guitars, taking notice of the distinctly clean sound, and how it allows them to easily sit in the final mix with an easily heard, yet at no point dominant manner, something which would perhaps be interesting to hear of in metal more often.

In fact, if anything is to be commended, it is how everything is worked together. By retaining a clean tone to the guitars and bass, everything can be layered on top of each other and retain a certain clarity, at no point does any instrument become difficult to discern, each performer contributing to the end result. It’s just the often fairly lengthy tracks (most well exceeding the 5 minute mark), where little in the way of change in style or tone occurs, that leads to an album that wears too thin too quickly, the funk groove not capable of sustaining interest for repeated listens. Nonetheless, an interesting listen, if perhaps on reflection not as impressive as I once hoped.

Highlights: 43, Why are you Leaving, Heathrow

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Guide

Guide to the Ratings
0/5 - This caused me physical pain
1/5 - This is really bloody awful
2/5 - This was below average
3/5 - This was above average
4/5 - This was pretty darn good.
5/5 - I cannot fault this epitome of perfection.

I cant guarantee all reviewers adhere to these guidelines, but work as a general guide.

Author's credit is given on all posts.