Basement Jaxx


Make no mistake – five albums in and Basement Jaxx are still making party music. The catch, however, is that it’s the part of the party where it’s 5am, the disco biscuits are wearing off, the booze has pretty much run out and the last swig from that discarded beer can by the front door yielded more fag ash than it did flat ale. You check your pockets but can only find a few seeds and some stems and the next bus home involves a mile walk to the nearest bus stop and a further 20-minute wait. In desperation you rummage around for some sounds but let’s face it, the best music was played hours ago when you thought you were busting some really serious moves but were instead mistaken for a masturbating baboon with a chronic stutter.

It’s not a pleasant image to lodge in your head, especially in preparation for the weekend, but with Scars the Brixton party machine known as Basement Jaxx is steadily running out of steam. Once a dynamic duo famed for injecting the late-90s dance scene with a sound that appealed as much to the mainstream as it did the underground, Basement Jaxx have lost the hooks and chutzpah that reeled so many of us in.

And where their previous album, the disappointing Crazy Itch Radio, was the soundtrack to a particularly horrendous hen night, here they lay on enough cheese to create an ear fondue. Basement Jaxx are now less about ideas and giddy joys and more about securing a guest list of famed vocalists to justify the overused "featuring" that accompanies just about track on the album to create a list of credits that would’ve made Cecil B De Mille blush.

Not that it’s a total dog. Santigold makes her presence felt on the headbanging rush of ‘Saga F’ and the sheer hedonistic abandon of the stupendously wonderful ‘Raindrops’ can take its place among their greater moments with a puffed up sense of pride. Best of all is septuagenarian Yoko Ono who drives along ‘Day Of The Sunflowers (We All March On)’ with the kind of ecstatic moans that ought give the younger among us a sense of optimism about reaching old age. But, sadly, these pleasures are few and far between.

All good parties come to end at one point or another and some sooner than others. The ability to re-group and start all over again largely depends on the size of the hangover and the ability to keep a fry-up down . . . but right now it feels as if the smell of the fried bread is enough to send Basement Jaxx scuttling back to bed after a particularly violent puke.

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