Monday, 21 September 2009

Quick review: Basement Jaxx "Scars"

I've had dibs on this review all year! Please note though, this is the iTunes edition of "Scars", which has a slightly different tracklist to other versions.

So, after a summer on the festival circuit, the Jaxx have returned with their fifth studio output. And the one question on everyone's lips seems to be "Is this a return to Remedy?". Well, yes and no. Felix and Simon have certainly recaptured that crazy electro-tinged style from their 1999 debut, but once opener "Scars" kicks in, it's clear this isn't "Remedy 2.0". Instead the duo have taken that sound, and re-adapted it into something that's not specifically aimed at the dancefloor.

Many were put off by the sound of lead single "Raindrops", but there's a lot more on offer here than vocoded pop-house. The opening title track weaves filtered opera samples in with a rap from chart-botherer Chipmunk, "She's No Good" is a shuffling banger of bizarre electronic swing jazz, "Day Of The Sunflowers (We March On)" features a guest spot from Yoko Ono (no, wait! come back!) and club anthem "Twerk" is... well, all about the booty. But the best of all by far is iTunes bonus track "One More Chance" featuring house legend Lil Louis. It's one of few tracks on the album that sounds like it could have been plucked straight from "Remedy". Big pianos, whistling synth line and verses of spoken word poetry, it truly is a beautiful piece of music.

All in all, "Scars" is a good album. A few tracks fall a bit flat, but the best ones make this one a great edition to the Jaxx back catalogue.

I give it a hearty 8/10! Now here are my picks from the album.

Basement Jaxx - Twerk (feat. Yo Majesty) [right click to download]

Basement Jaxx - What's A Girl Gotta Do? (feat. Paloma Faith) [right click to download]

Basement Jaxx - One More Chance (feat. Lil Louis) [right click to download]

Buy the whole album from iTunes here, or order the CD from Amazon here.

Keep it funky,


Boba Fettuccini said...

Twerk... ew. Travesties in order:
1. Murdering great 80's song
2. Excessive autotune
3. Excessive autotune
4. Murdering great 80's song

What were they thinking?

Joe said...

Twerk? Autotune? Where?

Boba Fettuccini said...

Like, uh, maybe all over the line "she's a maniac, maniac on the floor, and she's dancing like she never danced before"?

Joe said...

But this is Basement Jaxx. They can get away with autotune.

Boba Fettuccini said...

No one can. Not even Basement Jaxx. Especially not when stealing lyrics from Flashdance.

untra said...

I don't know what to think about Basement Jaxx; They always have a fun and creative tune, but they use WAY too many samples.
That, and they did that remix of Phoenix. And there is no excuse for that travesty.

Joe said...

^^ Tru dat. That Phoenix remix was the only awful thing I've heard from Basement Jaxx.

Joe said...

Also, @ Boba, if you don't like auto-tune, take all of your favorite modern-day pop records, and burn them. They all use it. It's just a part of the whole "studio magic" thing that gets records to sound perfect.

The difference is most modern pop songs use it for what it should be used for: correcting a few slight note slip-ups. If used correctly, auto-tune isn't even detectable. Hell, I didn't realise Calvin Harris used it until a couple of weeks ago. But rappers nowadays have realised "OMFG I CANT SING FOR SHIT BUT WHEN I USE DIS IT MAEKS ME SOUND LIEK A ROBOT!!!one" And that's when pop music died. The end.

Boba Fettuccini said...

I don't own any modern pop records for a good reason.