Thursday, 12 February 2009

Skalp - From My Head To Your Feet - Limited Edition Double CD

There is definitely an 80s vibe coming back and it seems to be pioneered from Europe . To be honest, I don't care where it comes from as long as it hits the spot and moves me. Skalp – an odd name, I know! - hails from France , as does the excellent Swade and Thomas G, and dear old U-Nam. That is one funky country and long may they produce the goods! That's what I call entente cordial! Perhaps this album is not as strong or consistent as the aforementioned Swade or the Confection, but there are moments of real excellence and even stronger is the flash of greater potential. I can see this man going far, and if he carries on in this vein I will be truly happy. Some songs on here would be massive if played generally in the clubs – take the excellent, buoyant dancer, “Superstar”. OK, this comes in five different versions, so play 'em and take your pick. For me the best one is track 2, the original version. It has a modern club vibe, and a popular vibe to boot, but Skalp carries it off admirably with a lot more soul and a strong 80s vibe. This is a happy record! “Chanana” is definitely 80s in focus, and we really get a taste of this man's excellent vocals which are an enthralling mix of Sean Franks, Steve Harvey and, in places, Michael Jackson! The title track is excellent with its angry synth line, Jackson-type vocals and Sean Franks styled phrasing. My favourite cut is so annoying! At 90 seconds it is FAR too short. If only this could have been stretched to a full 4 or 5 minutes. The vocals and keys are to die for! As for ballads, I recommend the offbeat string-laden “For Love”; the strings are almost out of key but there lies the genius. Burt Bacharach utilises this perfectly, and even Mint Condition dabbled to dramatic effect on their “Life's Aquarium” CD. Disc 2 kicks off in style with the foot-stompin' “Back 2 U” and R&B-ish head nodder “Walkin' In The Groove” which should be big on radio. His version of “Funkin' For Jamaica” is also of merit, complete with vocoder and jazzy piano it is quite a fun take on the classic. If you like the Fun put in your Funk, then check out the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, crazy party jam of "Funky Toons" which features none other than the legendary Don Blackman on vocals. Don is no stranger to funky stuff like this, as anyone who owns his GRP / Arista LP will know very well! There is another very short but very sweet cut which is the synth based “Play This Game” and, again, I wish this was longer. This is a pleasing set, and as far as I can see this is only the start of bigger and better things to come. But what a foundation!

Barry Towler