Basement Jaxx - Junto
In their first release in five years (you're right, it does seem longer, with last album Zephyr almost slipping entirely under the radar back in 2009) Basement Jaxx are back to show the kids how it's done. The Brixton duo have been soundtracking films in their absence from the charts and the theatricality has slipped into their latest offering, Junto. If perfectly produced house beats with a tinge of everything from Calypso to electronica, mixed with a smattering of atmospheric accompaniments is your cup of tea, you'd better arm yourself with an entire pack of chocolate digestives and pop the kettle on.
Opening track 'Power To The People' tramples the pathway with carnival vibes, sunshine-soaked steel drums encouraging a two step throughout - an easy rival to some of their best known efforts. The slick production expected of Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe doesn't disappoint, the perfect foil to a rough-round-the-edges gang vocal chant that lets us know the Jaxx are preparing you for a full on aural onslaught. 'Unicorn' and 'We Are Not Alone' showcase some unique new vocalists that they always seem to have on tap.
It's likely that you've already heard the silky house of lead single 'Never Say Never', its piano-led intro dropping you straight into the 90s. Similar acts trying to nail the complex layering of sounds that the duo are famed for fall flat in the face of their sharp production. The chilled chorus is a welcome break to the full on carnival assault of the album, the breathing space preparing you for the full on onslaught of the second half. A trio of potential singles in the form of 'Buffalo', 'Rock This Road' and 'Sneakin' Toronto' raise the game with a persistent, familiar beat which makes up the backbone of the album.
Basement Jaxx have taken their time with their return, arming themselves with a variety of substantial vocalists and a plethora of entrancing rhythms. There's no 'Red Alert' or 'Good Luck', but it's probably the closest the duo are going to get to returning to their former glory.