[TEAM REVIEW] Basement Jaxx: Junto LP

[TEAM REVIEW] Basement Jaxx: Junto LP

basement jaxx junto Today, Basement Jaxx release their much-anticipated new LP, Junto (purchase info, here!). The UK duo's ability to effortlessly switch from driving tech to sultry slow-burners to the deepest of house is most enviable. I've had each KKS writer pull a song from the figurative hat and share his or her thought - I think you'll quickly find there's a general consensus here. Welcome to the world of Basement Jaxx.

1. "Power To The People" This Basement Jaxx tune has a harp intro. Yes, a freaking harp, And yes, you already know I am so on board. The intro vibe doesn’t stick around for long (unfortunately), but the British duo does go a bit more orchestral before dropping into a full out dance record, introducing soaring 80’s synth brass, and percussive plips and plops. But when the groove kicks in, oh man, it’s one of the biggest. I mean, this kick drum is SUBBY. Soulful vocals center the track until a choir of voices erupts for the chorus with explosive energy. Post chorus, a wibble-wobble synth drives us through verse two until we run smack dab into the bridge, where a literal children’s choir gives a go at the main melodic motif. From there on out, we’re placed on a beat plateau with brass vibing out the song until we cut into just the drum riff itself. It’s there that the tune runs itself straight into the that mesmerizing state that seems to always happen with brilliant dance records. I’m anticipating gigantic club rotation on this one. -Stephen

2. "Unicorn" Not unlike unicorn blood on toast, this is a magical jam. OH MAN THAT WAS SO uniCORNY. Good vibrations all around though. You can almost see the speakers bump with the pulse-driving synthesizers. Pour this out to wake up a sleepy party. -Johnny

3. "Never Say Never" For the last few years Justin Beiber has really owned the phrase "Never Say Never." Let's be real. You're probably already visualizing those purple posters circa 2011 from his movie release and you can already hear his teenage voice crooning "never say neverrrrrr" in your ear. Make it stop! Well, Basement Jaxx is giving the catch phrase new life with this tune. A few listens to this dance-y track and you'll be Beiber-free in no time. It's sweet relief and exactly the kind of tune I want to see the contestants of So You Think You Can Dance strutting to. Seriously. It would be awesome. -Eavie

4. "We Are Not Alone" “Junto” is seriously the album this year needed, and “We Are Not Alone” is just another reason as to why. Starting with relaxing synth chords, it quickly switches into a futuristic take on the classic soul sound. It’s a huge pop song wrapped up in a musical coat spanning every decade from the seventies to now that only Basement Jaxx could accomplish. I mean seriously, who else can put together a track like this that doesn’t feel tired or forced in any? Straight sunshine. -Caleb

5. "What's The News" "What's The News" brings me directly back to my time spent in Miami in every right way. I can imagine myself pool side, feeling at the top of the world, in a deep daze of perfect house music. The production of Basement Jaxx really impressed me as the song transitions seamlessly without losing any energy. As the simple yet effect bass riff drives this song, the tasteful drums and melodies continue set the tone. Throughout the song I'm reminded that I "came to party," and "we are all somebody"…. So I seriously I might have to bust a move. This song is really contagious and seems to be stuck on repeat in my iTunes right now. If you are looking for that sexy dance track to get things going, start things off with What's The News. -Mark

6. "Summer Dem" With a title like this, you’d better deliver a feel-good dance hit. “Summer Dem” is one of those songs that you swear you’ve heard before and then can’t get out of your head. Luckily this is a compliment. Disco-heavy , vocally-driven, with just the right amount of funk, “Summer Dem” had me instantly bopping my head and wishing I was on the beach and not writing this review in my hot apartment. At least now I’ll have a great song to play this weekend! -Scott

7. "Buffalo" YES. YES. A million times YES! There are so many amazing things happening in this Buffalo track; all of which will be responsible for you walking around jammin' to it with some serious stank face bobble head action goin on. I have  to recommend bumping this jam in your whip ONLY to those of you bass professionals, because this is no beginners beats 101 my friends. Shit will blow your mind unless you're careful enough. Oh and spoiler alert! Just when you think it couldn't get any better, Jaxx sneazes on the beat at 0:28 and the beat gets SICAH! With no other words left of my own, I can imagine only Sweet Georgia Brown knows what I'm talkin about when I say, "Oh lawd geezus, it's a FIRE!". Except this time, we all got time for this! -Frankie

8. "Rock This Road" "Rock This Road" proves once again that Basement Jaxx has no fear of the abnormal. They're never afraid to think outside of the box and that's what makes their music shine. RTR certainly doesn't fit into any single category of music. It's soul. It's R&B. It's funk. It's house. It's tribal. It's tropical. It's straight up animalistic at times. It's a little bit of everything. The song includes several little oddities such as tribal chanting and even a kitten "meowing" (or perhaps it's a meerkat). Its banging chorus hits with a ton of energy and keeps us moving through its various musical fluctuations all the way through to the acapella break down at the end. Though the track may bombard us with a somewhat overwhelming amount sound bits and flavors, it stays true to the signature stylings of the British duo. Somewhat reminiscent of the pair's 2009 track "Raindrops," RTR is a high energy, big drum, world music track. Basement Jaxx delivers a song of their own unique creation, yet again. -Bauer

9. "Sneakin'" "It's not where you from, it's where you at" caps off the track "Sneakin" from Basement Jaxx's new album, 'Junto' out on Aug. 26th. Evidently that call out is tongue-in-cheek, on a track that is so reminiscent of a decades-gone genre that is bubbling to the forefront in this song, their album, and so many others. Not gone is the slick space-funk the group is famous for, but the stripped down, almost back-to-basics feel is throughout the album, highlighted on "Sneakin". There are few songs that can transport you to poolside brunch quite like this one, and they hammer home the chill vibe with their frenetic production that works together to create something atmospheric that would help even out the most aggressive day-partier unwind. It's hard to say if Basement Jaxx is capitalizing in the second wave of lounge-vibe dance music, because when it comes to a sharp groove and irreverent vocals...haven't they written the book? They've always been a group to show up halfway through the party saying 'this is how it's done', and on this track it's no different. If you're looking for a little summer-sun nostalgia and a whole lot of satisfying attitude, put on your platform sandals and follow the music. Nine times out of ten, there's going to be Basement Jaxx when you arrive. -Grant

10. "Something About You" Hands (and the rest of my body) down, this is my personal favorite track on the LP. It'll ask as many questions as it will provide answers. The boys combine encompassing atmospherics with a rock-solid kick drum and locked desirous groove. Adding a large dose of Balearic beauty, helped in no small part by the drifting whistles and acoustic guitar lick, the full, rounded bassline adds enough drive to make it perfect for any Tempur-Pedic dance floor, if you catch my drift. -Brent

11. "Mermaid of Salinas" Mermaid of Salinas clocks in at just under 8 minutes of pure, Latin-infused, dancefloor pleasure. The track starts off with a single guitar which begins the long slow build into the true heart of the track, which hits around 2:30 in. Fans used to the big festival stage typical EDM song structure will be pleasantly surprised by Basment Jaxx doing what they do best -- making you dance all. night. long. There's no "wait for the drop!" with this track, and it's a banger from start to finish, including a 40-second vocal feature about halfway through -- useful for fans to catch their breath before the rest of the instrumentation kicks back in.  We can't wait to hear this sneak into sets at clubs around the world and until then, we'll be singing ba ba ba ba ba as we walk around. -Katie

12. "Love Is At Your Side" The faint flutter of your heart makes it hard to breathe, a rush of dopamine floods your ears, suddenly you're in love. That is the exact feeling that washed over me during first listen, and subsequent 20, of Basement Jaxx's "Love Is At Your Side". The track is a completely unexpected blend of soaring euphoric choral chants, delicate percussion reminiscent of polynesia, and breathtaking sonic expanses that capture the boundless energy of love. -Wesley

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