The duo that have consistently punctuated the mainstream dance landscape with hits are back! back! back! And releasing what is only their seventh album – somehow it feels like they’ve made many more. The mythical sounding title Junto is Spanish for ‘together’ (as a very rough translation) and this album certainly aims to unite the world through the power of dance. Specifically, carnival orientated, genre infused dance-pop. The intro and first song Power To The People very clearly set the carnival agenda, before Unicorn lays down the club card.
There’s been a bit of criticism aimed at them for their latest effort sounding so 90s, but it’s a far more forward thinking use of the genre (if it is a real genre) than any of the new upstarts doing their best Vogue-gone-house re-interpretations. This shouldn’t be a surprise – they helped define the era anyway, popularising so many tropes that found their way from Chicago house and the best bits of disco sifted through robotic loops. The key to Basement Jaxx is their clear vision. It’s absolutely party music, and even their surprise variations stay true to this carnival spirit. A perfect example of their sound revitalised by innovation comes in the form of track Summer Dem. You have all the funky trademarks of a Basement Jaxx song; catchy as hell, earworming high-pitched whistley synths and a rapped verse, sung chorus. Except this time the rap comes with a thick Scottish accent, stretching vowels to brilliant effect on lines like “Yur defunitley my tie-puh.” It works brilliantly. You can add to this example We Are Not Alone, an immaculate funk doo-wop, or Never Say Never which starts off like Calvin Harris summer anthem, before some tribal drums and off-kilter percussive tricks mean it could only be a Basement Jaxx track. It’s sparse, sexual and sexy without resorting to the robotic grunts that makes EDM so hypersexual. There’s some less poppy detours too in the harsh urban edge of Buffalo, or the exotic rhythms of Rock This Road, ending with an ELO-style choral ending. And like all good albums, they close with a very gentle flourish in the soft jangle of Love Is At Your Side. Junto is a masterclass in eclectic without ever compromising Basement Jaxx’s signature sound.
Bob Henderson AKA @bobchicalors
Maxell Music Monday Competition
As part of our Music Monday’s, we want to give you a pair of fantastic M by Maxell in-ear headphones, as well as a copy of Basement Jaxx’s album. To enter the competition, just follow these steps.
Step One – Check out the M by Maxell website and find the three M by Maxell in-ear headphones, then choose your favourite model.
Step Two – Email email@example.com and tell us which model is your favourite, your name and your postal address.
Step Three – Sit back, relax and wait for us to pull your name out of the tombola. The competition is open until September 8th, and we’ll let the winner know by September 11th.