Jamiroquai – AutomatonCultureMusicAlbum reviews
Their first album in seven years, acid jazz band Jamiroquai’s retro yet contemporary Automaton was worth the wait. In fact their best in two decades, the quality of the music proves that the talented 90s star Jay Kay has what it takes to produce increasingly better work. Jamiroquai’s eighth studio record, this 12-track dynamo combines British house with funk, dance-pop, techno, early 80s electro and Motown, and includes some cutting-edge musical additions.
The hot intro in the fun, highly danceable Shake It On sets Automaton’s energetic vibe. About self-discovery, it is true funk with a mellow but powerful electro beat combined with some classic 70s violin riffs. The potent techno-inspired title track contains excellent instrumentals. It is more of the 21st century, but eclectic with echoes of new wave and early 80s electronic Gary Numan styles as well as some 90s rap.
Combining acid jazz with shades of Motown, and a smooth classic rendition by Jay Kay, Cloud 9 is supreme. A personal trip back to days of carefree, juvenile partying – tight, fast and intense – the excellent Superfresh opens with vigorous falsetto vocals and an electro-disco pulse. Another vibrant dance tune, Hot Property‘s strong funk cadence is made original with some innovative house and synth touches.
Reminiscent of his idol Stevie Wonder, the frontman’s creative vocals meld with soul, disco and a fantastic baseline in Something About You, a flashback of lost love. Lovely melodic singing, dynamic bongo-style percussion and emphatic disco licks infuse the 60s-genre Summer Girl with its own unique sound. An almost tongue-in-cheek derivative of 70s dance tunes, Motown and early 80s electro-pop, the superb Nights Out in the Jungle has a particularly dramatic, expressive rhythm.
Opening to a bongo-style beat, Stevie Wonder-esque Jay Kay solos with Bee Gees falsetto and chorus, Dr Buzz is about addiction, a universal theme, but with an atmospheric retro nod to “Studio 54” type drug cultures. An ethereal chorus introduces We Can Do It, which is evocative of Get Down On It by Blue (and Kool & The Gang). Edgy acid house track Vitamin follows, with a fast-paced Jay Kay “on speed” with a message about getting real. Finally, a tribute to the singer’s daughter, the outstanding techno synth Carla features strong, lively electronic riffs.
Demonstrating a successful maturation in style, after a long hiatus, Jamiroquai’s highly anticipated Automaton is a joyful, well-conceived, exceptional album.
Automaton is released on 31st March 2017, for further information or to order the album here.
Watch the video for Automaton here: