Shakatak - Invitations [Secret Records - 2017]British jazz-funk-disco outfit, Shakatak, sees the re-release of 1982's classic Invitations via Secret Records. This newly expanded edition features six alternate remixes of four Invitations tracks. A must for any fan, this easy, light, danceable album will get you moving for sure.
Beginning with the breezy, yachty, jazzy, piano fueled, eponymous track, Invitations starts off with a bang and never lets go. Flutes and pianos are the vessel on which the vocals float their way through the speakers in this extended mix. Smooth, upbeat jazz with elements of funk make a lovely backdrop for wonderfully disco female vocals. After feeling this groove melt into one's body, be prepared to lose yourself with "Lose Myself." The funky bass leads into lightly synthy, wonderfully guitary, smooth jazz. Much like the soundtrack that plays while furniture shopping, this relaxing tune insinuates itself into the subconscious and powers smiles that last for the full 5+ minute run time. It's not all funk and groove on Invitations, though, as "Lonely Afternoon" brings out a Klymaxx-esque ballad. The Diana Ross-y vocals convey a wistful, but beautiful quality, and makes this one a stand out track. Shakatak quickly switches back to light, jazzy funk with "Steppin' Out." Soft and smooth, there's a certain elevator ride feel to the jam, but the bass and piano lines keep this from becoming mundane. Hitting the closest to traditional disco, "Stranger" still involves thoughtful pianos over the four on the floor beat. The synth flutes add a fun, dancey feel to the mix as well. Diverging from disco, "Sol Fuego" adds a Caribbean element, along with a really well done, heart felt guitar solo. Fast and jazzy, "Sol Fuego" has Shakatak firing on all cylinders and shows what this outfit is capable of. Finishing up the album, "In Shadows" is two minutes of thoughtful pianos that meet up with synths to add a nice close to Invitations. Secret Records' re-release follows this with six alternate mixes (three versions of "Invitations,"and one each of "Stranger," "Lose Myself," and "Lonely Afternoon"). While nothing groundbreaking to be had on these mixes, they're fun additions to have, and keep the dance vibe alive.
Still very active, Shakatak continues to grow its fan base through Secret Records' re-releases of their classic albums. Invitations is given a great reissue along with six bonus mixes that should please any Shakatak fan. Discovering classic albums in new, well done re-releases opens up the doors for new fans not looking to pay collectors prices for out of print material.Paul Casey