Shakewell’s “techtonic dance grooves” are alive and well on their first full-length album of original music. But on the new effort, the young Missoula band adds more smooth jazz wisps and laid-back soul to their signature funk vibe. The sounds are imaginative and almost improvisational at times. Not a bad thing!
They retain a big-band sound, fleshed out by core members Cove Jasmin, vocals, keys, and percussion; Aaron “Trickshot” Johnson, drums; Jordan Smith, vocals and guitar; Emmet Ore, guitar and synths; his brother Sam on bass; and the Big Hornz duo of Tanner Fruit, alto sax, and Nathan “Rock Bottom” Crawford, trumpet. Guests include producer Alan Evans on percussion and vocals; Jake Syrenne, tenor sax; Darby Wolf, organ and synth; and Devon Parker on vocals.
The recording is chock-full of terrific arrangements and tight rhythms, and interludes of quirky short pieces that seem like snippets of ideas laid down just so the guys can catch their breath in the studio. For example, “Pretxt” is one-minute-plus of dreamy piano arpeggios and cymbal and drum crashes. “WTF” is 32 seconds of what sounds like electronic wolf howls mixed with trumpet blats and crashing noises.
Jasmin’s adept tenor is once again spot-on. On “Quiver,” he coos in a slick drawl over stylish horns and a boingy mouth harp. The disco-fied “Enamored,” with its jazzy, dissonant guitar chords and Earth, Wind, and Fire nuances, finds Jasmin and Smith trading lead on the verses and singing together on an infectious hook.
Devon Parker shares the vocal lead with Jasmin on the rock-steady title tune, “Marzoula.” There’s a cool chorus followed by a wacky sci-fi synth solo and a Latin-flavored horn riff.
The fellas’ music is, as usual, inventive and danceable. Check these guys out; you won’t be sorry!
– Mariss McTucker