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No.20 DRIVIN’ HARD SHAKATAK

Red skies, a neon-lit underpass and a subtle suggestion of fantasy – the sleeve art to Shakatak’s 1981 debut LP oozed undeniable cool, and the pop-infused Brit-funk manifesto found within shored up what – at the beginning of the decade – was a genre barely off the starting blocks. Together with their contemporaries – bands like Hi-Tension, Beggar & Co, Freeez and Incognito – Shakatak opened up new avenues for the likes of Spandau, Wham! and Haircut One Hundred and later on Jamiroquai, Daft Punk and Mark Ronson, all of whom have dipped a toe into the group’s catalogue. While their futurefriendly grooves have ensured Shakatak a place in the big league, they retain their status as a cult band. We’ll leave that one for you to ponder while you dig out this surefooted debut (those who don’t own a copy should check out the recently released Secret Records reissue). From the blissful ambient piano line in opener Living In The UK via tracks like Toot The Shoot with its tight synth bass and vocodered vocal and outstretched synth opus Covina through to the six minutes of Latino grooves on Brazilian Dawn, this is Britfunk perfection. Drivin’ Hard in name… seriously laid back in nature. Rik Flynn

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About Classic Pop

The results are in! The latest issue features the Classic Pop 'Top 100 Albums of the Eighties' - as decided by our readers - including the classics of the decade, some cult favourites and a few wildcards to boot. PLUS! We give the Classic Pop verdict on David Bowie's new album 'Blackstar'… Elsewhere in the issue we investigate the classic pop of Christmas, delve into Sparks' weird and wonderful back catalogue, survey Simple Mind's classic album 'Once Upon A Time' and take a closer look at the leftfield sleeve art of John Foxx. Interviews include Visage's Steve Barnacle, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze, Susanna Hoffs, McAlmont & Butler and modern synthpop duo Hurts.