INCOGNITO: Into You (Shanachie/Splash Blue/Space Shower)

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Back in July ever-dependable Bluey Maunick announced the impending arrival of a new INCOGNITO album via the delicious summery single, ‘Back On The Beach’. Laid back and soporific, it was crafted from all the various elements that make the Incognito sound so captivating. That was followed in September by  another single – and another classic Incognito vibe – ‘Keep Me In The Dark’. With  a sumptuous vocal from Natalie Duncan, it indicated that the promised album was going to be something rather special. Well, said LP, ‘Into You’, is released this Friday, 20th October and our previews reveal that, indeed, it is rather special. 

‘Into You’ is  Incognito’s 19th studio set and like the previous 18, it delivers that familiar Incognito sound – but it also offers something new, something a little different. That splendid melding is achieved, chiefly, in two ways. First  Bluey’s in control. He knows what he wants and he knows how to achieve; thus his trademark flourishes are stamped all over this set. He also knows that change and evolution are important and here he achieves that by using a smattering of new musicians, new vocalists and some special guests.

Natalie Duncan is one of those new faces. Ms Duncan fronted  the single, ‘Keep Me in the Dark’ and that’s the song that opens the 16 tracker. It’s a clever choice for an opener as it sets the tone for what’s to come – a music that’s smooth and sophisticated but never bland, melodic, harmonic, brassy, hook-laden  and soulful with a jazzy undertow. Natalie fronts five more cuts including the emotive, gentle ‘Colourblind’,  the ballad ‘One Step’ and the soulful duet that is ‘Reconcile The Pieces’ – the duettist, by the way is the band’s long time collaborator, Tony Momrelle.

Cherri V is the album’s other main featured vocalist – and another “newbie”. She delivers four songs – the most interesting being ‘Keep On Dancing’ which, despite the title, isn’t really a  full on dance track – rather a moody groove with the message that despite what’s happened, the protagonist is going to keep on going. If you do want to dance then go straight to ‘Nothing Makes Me Feel Better’ – a classic Incognito dance groove with a deep bass line. It features the complete trio of vocalists – Natalie, Cherri and Tony!

Amongst the other album guests are Max Beesley who adds distinctive vibes to ‘Close To Midnight’. Max, of course, has worked with Bluey many times in the past but amongst the new members of the Incognito crew are Coen Molenaar of Tristan, and James Berkeley of Yakul. ‘Into You’ also marks the Incognito debut for guitarist Charlie Allen who features prominently throughout and also keyboardist Chicco Allotta who shines on ‘1993’

Old or new? Familiar or fresh? It makes little difference. The Incognito brand is a guarantee of quality, innovative music and ‘Into You’ simply underlines  that. The album is released on October 20th on vinyl, CD & digital  via Shanachie (USA) and Space Shower (Asia) and in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world via Bluey’s  own label “Splash Blue”.

(BB) 4/5