Basement Jaxx “Junto”
Is there anyone in the UK who hasn’t at some point shaked their ass to a Basement Jaxx song?? Surely not many. They’re a band who have truly managed to achieve the cross over from dance music to commercial worldwide success. Importantly, this has been achieved mainly by their ability to create the highest quality of good dance tunes with mass appeal. Their latest collection is “Junto”, an album released earlier this year but perhaps not getting the exposure it deserved.
The start of the album itself is somewhat restrained where, in spite of its call to arms title, “Power To The People” actually starts with a slow horn intro before it grows in to a samba influenced number which is relatively restrained. The party spirit starts to build up on “Unicorn”, which has quite a retro dance feel but with a really wonderful vocal line.
The more commercial side of the band becomes apparent on “Never Say Never” which has more soulful vocals, but with a pop beat which could see it accompanying many an advert. This feeling is kept going on “We Are Not Alone” which has a real “classic Jaxx” feel to it. Although, the album really hits an early peak on “What’s The News” which is a great mainstream dance number with an underlying disco vibe. It forms a perfect combination with “Summer Dem” which is the band at their absolute best, with its infectious and catchy dance feel.
In contrast, “Buffalo” has a garage/drum & bass feel to it, which is an unusual step and a bit out of place with the rest of the tunes. Although, maybe this song and “Sneakin Toronto” are reminders that the band is essentially a dance band and not a pop band. Despite that, “Mermaid Of Salinas” has summertime, beach party written all over it. It’s a vibrant and atmospheric song with a Latin feel which will have you dreaming of golden beaches.
Having a reputation for delivering huge popular dance anthems means each album is released to a real sense of expectation. On this album, Basement Jaxx have managed to deliver both the necessary big party tunes but also show a willingness not to just play to the masses. There is no doubt it will be loved by their fans but there are also more than enough potential singles to satisfy the more causal listener (and therefore also all the label executives!!).