The Archspace is an intimate venue with a big sound, so it was an absolute treat to see two artists from Jalapeno Records playing funk and soul all night. Headlining act Smoove & Turrell were performing their new album Mount Pleasant, to be released on Friday 29th June, which they are currently touring with - so we were lucky enough to get a sneak preview.
Supporting the band was gospel soul musician Izo FitzRoy, who we previously saw supporting Lee Fields & The Expressions. Izo has an incredible voice on her own but her gospel backing vocalists, as well as the rest of the band rocking alongside, gave the tracks a richer sound and an uplifting atmosphere. You could feel the soul in all of the singers’ voices and they had some gorgeously emotive harmonies. Izo performed songs from her debut album Skyline and treated us to two new tracks. The gospel infused disco number ‘I Want Magic’, a real mover that’s bound to dance up the charts, and country gospel tune ‘Lifting Me’, show Izo FitzRoy experimenting with different styles whilst maintaining her signature sound - she seems like she’s having a lot of fun working on this second record.
Smoove & Turrell, along with the whole band, seemed endearingly pumped up to play some new music to a room full of fans and friends. They were all excitable and hilarious in between songs, the music may not be comedy oriented but the band are a bloody funny bunch. Michael Porter on keys was delightfully entertaining, jumping up on his kit and hyping the crowd. Porter provided a mixture of electronic synth and bouncy organ sounds, we particularly liked his performance on new track ‘Mr Hyde’ - which they aptly described as Smoove & Turrell punk. Smoove on the percussion was full of enthusiasm givin’ it large on the bongos and congas, particularly on ‘Slow Down’ from Eccentric Audio (2011), with John Turrell’s instantly recognisable vocals belting out some smooth soul on ‘A Deckham Love Song’.
The band closed with one of our favourite tracks ‘You Could’ve Been A Lady’ (which I actually think is better than Hot Chocolate's original) and this is a track built for a live performance. Smoove & Turrell may be a fun and lairy band but they are also excellent songwriters capable of social political commentary, such as with ‘Hate Seeking Missile’ from the forthcoming Mount Pleasant, which was written in response to the murder of politician Jo Cox. Our highlight of the entire evening was when Smoove & Turrell brought Izo FitzRoy back on stage to perform their new single ‘You’re Gone’ together, which is a belter of a disco duet that had everyone dancing. It’s great to see the band’s fanbase ever growing with each album and it sounds like Mount Pleasant will be another great addition to the list.
Mount Pleasant is available to pre-order here. you can checkout their new single You're Gone' on Spotify and Apple Music.