The dust has barely settled from their recent The Singles
retrospective but Basement Jaxx are back on the floor with a brand new studio album. Crazy Itch Radio
, built around the concept of a radio station (complete with interludes and skits), begins with an absurdly dramatic intro before flowing into the contrastively slinky, feel-good single "Hush Boy", a slick, mellow mash-up of styles that wouldn't be out of place on the duo's kaleidoscopic debut Remedy. Indeed, Crazy Itch
unfolds with a fluidity and infectious joie-de-vivre not really seen since first album. The ease with which tracks like banjo-house anthem "Take Me Back To Your House" and "Hey You!" spill from the speakers in colourful floods of cinematic strings, Balkan folk references, house beats and rock guitars, pays testament to the duo's outstanding studio alchemy. Elsewhere on the album they make grime sound fun ("Run 4 Cover"), pay coruscating tribute to marijuana ("Bubbles") and drop the odd slow number ("Lights Go Down"). Immediate and vibrant, Crazy Itch...
is Basement Jaxx at their sassy, life-affirming best. --Paul Sullivan