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Issue 1087

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Review

Jamiroquai: Automaton (Virgin-EMI)

Jamiroquai: Automaton (Virgin-EMI)

8

6.1

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UK release date 31.03.2017

The circle is, as Darth Vader once intoned, complete. Where, in the Nineties, Jamiroquai ruled the funky roost, today we have Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, and even the likes of Kaytranada and Justice, leading the popular line. And here now comes a new Jamiroquai studio album (the band’s eighth) appearing to weave the sounds of 2017 into its established (and still magnetic) disco-jazz-pop patter.

Interesting. Automaton’s disco-shimmying opener "Shake It On", with that pulse of electro bass running throughout, is a snappy scene-setter.

"Superfresh", another early moment, is an equally astute balance of old and new – fashionable vocoders, synths and Chic guitar-flicks helping propel Jay Kay’s nimble-as-ever vocals.

The album’s title track pushes even further into contemporary electronic territory, an arresting robo-strut with plenty of ‘Punk’ spirit and then some.

Tempering that, Jamiroquai still know how to craft a well polished, love-fuelled jam – "Something About You" and "Summer Girl" are nostalgically sweeping.

"Carla", named after (and about) Kay’s eldest daughter, avoids soppy distraction thanks, in part, to a dazzlingly sharp synth riff.

There is nothing revolutionary about "Automaton", but then there doesn’t need to be given a musical climate currently conducive to Jamiroquai’s long-standing mirrorball mantra. Impressively Kay and co. have built on their core sound, acknowledging the spin-offs other artists have introduced to it in recent years and re-packaging in such a way as to confidently command a whole new thrust of mainstream attention. They’ve still got the moves…
Words BEN LOVETT

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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