Their music has been featured in Coca-Cola commercials, they’ve remixed the likes of N.E.R.D. and Justin Timberlake and they’ve worked with everyone from Yoko Ono to Kelis to Dizzee Rascal.
So how is it that Basement Jaxx is still relatively unknown to the majority of the mainstream America record-buying public? Frankly, we don’t know and their fifth studio album, Scars, only further begs for an answer to this question.
On Scars, the duo ‘-‘- comprised of British musicians Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe ‘-‘- pull of yet another album full of genre-bending dance music. It’s pop, it’s R&B, it’s hip-hop, it’s folk . . . essentially, one big disco ball pulsing on the inside with a heart the size of a blue whale.
The disc opens with the melodramatic title track, featuring Nas’ bitter ex, Kelis, along with Meleka and U.K. MC Chipmunk.
The track is a swirling, emo-electronic anthem, setting the tone for the rest of the disc, which ventures into more melancholy territory than what people might expect from the ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ hitmakers.
The rest of the album plays out like an award show roster, featuring the likes of Yoko Ono, Santigold, Lightspeed Champion and Sam Sparro.
Sparro’s vocals soar over the blues-infused, pulsing dance anthem ‘Feelings Gone,’ while Lightspeed pops up for the frenetic, acoustic-gone-rave ‘My Turn.’
While the fun of recent Basement Jaxx albums has always been to hear how each track with their respective collaborators turns out, it’s the lead single, ‘Raindrops,’ that is the album standout. Featuring only a heavily auto-tuned Felix, the track is a lush, shimmering moment that is primed for a heartfelt confession on the dance floor. Perhaps the Jaxx should stick to keeping it all in the family in the future.
Scars is in stores and available for download now. The band embarks on a five city North American DJ tour Oct. 30th, hitting New York on Nov. 7th.