For the past five years, Missoula band Shakewell has been bringing the party. I was first exposed while passing through Caras Park with my young daughters, and we spontaneously decided to stop and dance in the grass. I can't say I'm historically a huge fan of the genre—something that sounds like a blend of funk and jazz—but in some situations, good music and good times override personal taste.
The seven members of the neo-soul/funk/rock outfit, winner of multiple Best of Missoula awards, release their debut full-length album this week in an attempt to digitally capture the well-known foot-tapping power of their music. They traveled to Evergroove Studio in Colorado to record the album with help from Soulive drummer Al Evans and Ropeadope Records' Andy Hurwitz.
Crisp but loose, Marzoula is an accurate depiction of what Shakewell has always brought to the table: highly professional, groovy tracks with punchy horns and earworm refrains. The 14 songs on the album flow into each other, creating a smooth, cool, show-like experience. While the energy and fun of the live show is challenging to bottle, this presents the next-best option. In fact, it comes with a few perks: excellent production, super-technical instrumentation, and no one to spill beer on you when they groove too much or too close.
Shakewell plays an album release show at the Top Hat Fri., Nov. 11, at 10 PM. $5.