Basement Jaxx: Scars

RIYL: BT, Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk

Only a band like Basement Jaxx could plunge head-first into the world of pop in order to rediscover their independent spirit. The band’s last album, 2006’s Crazy Itch Radio, left us a little cold, as if the band itself wasn’t sure where to go after their 2003 monster breakthrough album Kish Kash. This time around, the Brixton duo have taken copious notes on the current state of dance music, and made an album that says, “That stuff is nice…but we can do it better.” “Rainbows” takes Paul Oakenfold’s four-to-the-floor beat and pairs it with a sky-high chorus, and Sam Sparro lends his pipes to the Euro-house “Feelings Gone.” Speaking of guest vocalists, the Jaxx have outdone themselves here, assembling a so-hip-it-hurts lineup featuring Santigold, Kelis, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, and…wait for it…Yoko Ono. (Yes, it sounds exactly like you think it does, and even includes short breaths that sound awfully close to, yikes, an orgasm.)


But don’t let “hipster guest list” lead you to think that they’re trying to dazzle the listener with star power; the tunes come first, and they’ve come up with some doozies. The “Maniac”-riffing freak-out “Twerk” is one of the best songs the band has ever done, and they even take a surf pop doo wop detour on “A Possibility.” And massive props for the return Lisa Kekaula, who provided the thunderous lead vocal to Kish Kish track “Good Luck,” to sing the ballad “Stay Close,” which sounds like an electro Tracy Chapman. Scars is a most welcome return to form for the band, and not a moment too soon. (Ultra Records 2009)

Basement Jaxx MySpace page
Click to buy Scars from Amazon


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