Level 42 is a band that I didn't discover until they'd already reached worldwide commercial success – which started from 1985 onwards with 'World Machine'. I'm overjoyed that I eventually saw the light, and investigated their work from 1980-1984. Some of these early tracks are outstanding pieces of musicianship.
The band started in 1980 with Mark King, Mike Lindup, Boon Gould and Phil Gould. There was also the renowned keyboardist Wally Badarou, the band's unofficial fifth member.
Their early style was jazz-funk fusion, and focused heavily on Mark's use of sixteenth notes and 'machine-gun' triplets in the slap-and-pop style. Examples are 'Mr Pink' and 'Sandstorm'. Superb and fantastic!! His ability to play slap or fingerstyle, while singing counterpoint (and chewing gum!) is beyond belief (a good example is 'True Believers').
Mike, Boon and Phil all provided unique input into the sound of Level 42, with Mike's keyboard melodies and falsetto backing vocals; Boon's understated guitar riffs; and Phil's metronomic and driving drumbeats.
There have been many changes to the line-up over the years, and the latest album Retroglide has seen Mike and Mark joining forces again after a long break from Level 42. I've seen them live several times over the years, and they love to put on a show. They are the only band I know that sound better live than in the studio.