A recent revisit to this record takes me back to my youth. At the turn of the millennium London based House duo Basement Jaxx's debut burst onto the scene with heavy airplay rotation and music video promotion on MTV that ultimately landed this record in my lap. The nostalgia was strong but I found the retrospect hadn't changed my opinion much in the ten or more so years since I last gave it a spin. The singles are banging, classic Dance tunes that speak volumes but beyond them a rather varied inclusion of styles through sampling that doesn't always hit the same intensity.
Behind almost every song a steady is baseline thudding away in unison with programmed drums shuffling through tight varied arrangements to lay down the Dance foundations to move and groove to. Sometimes a little drab and narrow they get rather bombastic on the livelier, upbeat numbers and around them the samples and instruments create a different atmosphere for each song, with flashes of Pop, Ragga, Big Beat, Downtempo, Dub, Synthpop, Techno, Hip Hop and Ambient in the last two tracks. The duo give the House sound an expansive flavor from track to track which can be a little hit and miss.
It really comes down to taste but for the most part I like a lot of tracks on this record. For me "Always Be There" stands out as a song more released with its slow build up creating a slow settling mood for its vocal feature to climax with rich, sunny strings and echoing reverbs shuffling back and forth. The opener "Rendez-Vu" is a timeless classic sampling Spanish guitars, delivering a hook with infectious strings and topping it with the opening vocal lead "dum dum dum" and "doo wop" siting no need for coherent sentences to sing along with a tune. Each song has its own chemistries and arrangements, most of them suffer from a little repetition once the song has shown all its tricks and I'm left feeling pretty much the same way as before. It has fantastic moments but is rather inconsistent in flow. The final tracks drift off as the wheels slow down and fizzle out.
Favorite Tracks: Rendez-Vu, Jump N' Shout, Always Be There