Space Invadas – Wild World
Sometimes you don’t realise how much you miss someone til you hear them again.
Eight years on from their acclaimed debut Soul-Fi, Katalyst and Steve Spacek return with Wild World, the second instalment of electro soul gems for Space Invadas. And listening to it makes us wonder how we lasted so long without new music from this perfect collaboration.
Katalyst’s expertly-selected crate-digging productions and Spacek’s flawless soul vocals are such a perfect combination, each complementing one another so perfectly that they make each other sound better.
While these two creative forces are the crux of what makes this record such a dynamic soulful punch, a few expertly selected guests bring a fresh perspective to some of the productions.
Natalie Slade is a not-so-secret weapon that elevates every production she sings on (see: Yum Yum, Plutonic Lab’s latest cuts). So it stands to reason that her appearances on opener ‘Welcome’ and the beautifully brassy ‘Woman In Charge’ are among the album’s many highlights.
Guilty Simpson’s verse on the funk gem ‘Late Night’ is both smooth and powerful, as is Remi’s contribution to ‘Wild World’ – neither of them transform their respective tracks into hip hop songs, they just add a fresh element to keep things interesting.
While the record is very much steeped in late-70s funk and soul, there are a few sidesteps that keep the audience guessing. There’s the exotic South American flourish of ‘Don’t Ever Look Back’, the synth-heavy ‘Satellite’ has a distinctly electro vibe, and it all wraps up with the spacey, psych-soul of ‘I Just Want To’ that shows the duo can get a little weird when they need to.
It’s tough to pick highlights when a record has no low points, no moments lacking in inspiration. But special credit must go to ‘Now That I Know’ – one of the best soul tracks of the year and a jam that is every bit as good as the best hip hop tinged soul (think Anderson.Paak et al) being made anywhere.
Katalyst and Spacek’s are one of the most formidable tandem acts in Australian music. Everything on Wild World is executed with great care and class, and it’s a soul record that can, and should, stand up alongside the giants of modern hip hop and soul worldwide.