Welcome Back, Jaxx
Five albums deep and it seems like London production duo Basement Jaxx will never stop. Release after steady release have made the names Simon (Ratcliffe) and Felix (Buxton) synonymous with dance royalty. So it’s no surprise that the Scars track listing oozes eclecticism with a mix of big-name drops from the likes of Santigold and Yoko Ono, soulful brother Eli “Paperboy” Reed, dance sensation Sam Sparro, and indie hip-hoppers Yo Majesty.
With guests like these, one can only wonder if this is a dance record at all. Well, yes and no, but does that even matter? On Scars Ratcliffe and Buxton blatantly remain far beyond standardized electronic grooves. There are catchier, dancier tones (“Raindrops,” “Twerk”) yet setting the blasting bass aside makes slower tracks like the Santo & Johnny-like “A Possibility” that much more majestic.
Reed’s inner Ray Charles comes to life with the soul-burning “She’s No Good.” The jazzy closer “Gimme Somethin’ True,” with the ultra cool flow of Jose James, brings Scars to an unexpected, electrifying, neo-electro-jazz end that demands a flick of the repeat button.
Scars ranks high in the cool factor, bumped up by Santigold’s Specials ska flow on “Saga” and scoring major hipster points with Yoko Ono’s orgasmic poetry session on “Day of the Sunflowers (We March On)” while still finding space to soothe the ears with “Stay Close” and “D.I.S.tractionz.” Those help calm the heartbeats after some hardcore, unavoidable booty-shaking.