By coincidence, the opening bars of Basement Jaxx's third album, Kish Kash
, sample the intro to Jimi Hendrix's third album Electric Ladyland
. Although the record doesn't have the ingenuity of the latter, there are similarities in the composition: layers of tweaks, beeps and found sounds create a soundscape backdrop for the music. Anyone searching for the Latin-styled "cut & paste" floor fillers of Remedy
will be disappointed, as Kish Kash
explores further the uncharted realms of accessible house music.
Opener "Good Luck"--featuring the Bellrays' Lisa Kekaula--is classic Motown juxtaposed with contemporary rock, punk and disco-house. It works well, but despite the signature heavy bass and drums, it lends itself to attentive listening rather than outright dance-floor mayhem. "Lucky Star", the lead single with labelmate Dizzee Rascal, is an urban monster in a similar vein to "Jump and Shout", mixing their style with Dizzee's and setting it to a Middle Eastern melody. It would fit comfortably at a hip-hop, breaks or UK garage night.
The title track, with its vocal from Siouxsie Sioux, is heavily influenced by punk, and the overwhelming energy carries it convincingly as a dance-rock crossover. "Plug It In", the collaboration with JC Chasez (Justin "too busy or expensive" Timberlake's former bandmate), is unquestionably Kish Kash's party anthem. The solid rhythm section, rock guitars and anthemic chorus add up to classic Basement Jaxx, a definite crowd-pleaser with enough clever ideas to keep it just left of centre. In complete contrast is the album's only genuine low point, the drippy homage to Robert Owens that is "If I Ever Recover", best summarised as the ideal soundtrack to holiday programmes for years to follow.
It's unlikely that Kish Kash will be considered Jaxx's best album, but it is their biggest departure yet. Their dark, experimental side has been brought to the fore, but you can't help feeling that with a bit of tweaking, it could have been incredible. --David Trueman
BASEMENT JAXX Kish Kash (2003 UK 14-track CD album featuring collaborations with Siouxsie Sioux Dizzee Rascal and JC Chasez picture sleeve XLCD174)