One of the hottest New York funk bands in the early eighties were The Strikers who, like only the crème de la crème of the NYC post-Disco boogie boys and girls, were signed to the legendary Prelude label. Dancefloor perfection was realised when their 1981 album was released, a set which contained monsters like the timeless ‘Body Music’, ‘Inch By Inch’ and ‘Strike It Up’ which burned up the floors the world over. Then came the aptly-named ‘Contagious’ which quickly spread across the clubs giving dancers an itch they had to scratch.
And, then, nothing. Until now that is, thanks to original group members Darryl Gibbs, singer Reuben Faison and keyboard wiz Howard Young decided to re-form the act last year. Now known as The Strikers Band and slimmed down to a trio from the original sextet, they are ready to tour and have just released a new EP. But given what they produced 35 years ago, could they possibly hope to recreate the magic?
The answer is a simple yes. Keeping the spirit and feel of their earlier material, they have embraced modern technology to give their sound a contemporary feel. What we are left with are four good tracks with a high level of consistency, each of which differ slightly in style rather than go over old ground. ‘All About You’ gets things off to a flyer, an upbeat funk groove with an irresistible hook which sneaks up on you quickly (you’ll be singing I Wanna Groove With You Tonight over and over again).
There’s no let up with the funk jam ‘Play My Song’, its chanted Hey DJ! Play My Song chorus and squiggly eighties-style synth hooks. ‘Got Your Back’ slows down the beat a notch but it still has a serious beat with those striking handclaps that were so eighties and so sorely missed! A bonus instrumental version is tagged on at the end of the EP.
The fourth track ‘Make You Mine’ has a Push It style groove (Faison even sings Baby, Baby, Baby!) and is possibly my least favourite track but maybe that’s just me because there’s others out there who think it’s a standout!
If you dig retro grooves you’ll love this because this is no carbon copy. It’s serious, it’s authentic and made by guys who were at the forefront back in the day. The Strikers Band’s motto is to keep the groove alive. It’s not just alive, it’s kickin’.