Anyone who ventured down to Manchester in March to see the Smoover’s play at the legendary Band on the Wall venue will know just how well this band are playing at the moment; as well as how hard they are to review. Initially labelled as a Northern Soul act, Smoove and Turrell’s show demonstrated that their past decade has seen the creation of an identity that now spirals almost all of the way across the ‘dance’ umbrella, including elements of Funk, Soul, Electro and Jazz. Stereotypical these lads most certainly are not. Creators of music to make you move these lads most certainly are.
If ten years in the business has given the Smoove and Turrell gang anything, it’s an arsenal of dance floor weapons difficult for almost any other dance act to compete with.
Originally starting out as a one (Jonathon Watson) then two (John Turrell) person venture into the world of funk and disco, Smoove and Turrell entered the world as soul music enthusiasts looking to produce music through use of samples and cut-ups. As evidenced by their first two long players (‘Antique Soul’ and ‘Eccentric Audio’), and through Northern Soul heavy debut single ‘I can’t give you up’, the first few years of Smoove saw the act fully fledged as an electronic recording duo interested in using technology to create groove heavy records.
Continuing to push their sound, and the band dynamic, the duo pushed into 2014 looking for interesting ways of growth, and by album three (‘Broken Toys’) and the introduction of their manic keyboardist (Mike Porter) Smoove and Turrell were heading out of the world of samples and cut-ups and into more traditional, full band, productions. Concurrently they also began venturing into the world of the live music in a move which would end up with them being seen as one of the hardest working, most impactful, live bands on the dance scene; Mike Porter being the stand out star for his moments of I-hope-he-doesn’t-fall-off keyboard clambering.
Last years ‘Mount Pleasant’ album, the bands fifth, provides evidence of a band still driven to explore new sounds and establish themselves as an active, recording, act. It’s the last piece in a body of work which will be brought together for a 18 track strong greatest hits release (‘Solid Brass’) which will be released in June and supported by a show at The Sage. If they’re half as good at The Sage as they were in Manchester, then you shouldn’t miss this one.