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3.9 out of 5 stars13
3.9 out of 5 stars
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TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 September 2009
That Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe are back
with a new collection is a reason to be cheerful.

Despite one or two exceptional tracks 2006's
'Crazy Itch Radio' felt a bit like the guys
were coasting. A little bit tired and worn down.

'Scars' confirms that they have found their muse
and some infectious energy again.
It is a lively collection full of fresh ideas
and big danceable beats.

The only track I find impossible to like is 'Saga',
which might have been a perfectly jolly experience
had they not entrusted the vocal to Santigold.
My allergy to every sound she emits rages on unabated.

Elsewhere the collaborations are all well realised.

Opening track 'Scars' is a heady cut-and-paste tapestry,
stiching electronic choral snatches and quasi-tribal
rhythms together with Kelis, Meleka and Chipmunk's
entertaining vocal intrusions. Delicious stuff !

I'm loving 'My Turn', featuring Lightspeed Champion
(aka Devonte Hynes), which had the whole Wolf family
and an assorted collection of random rodents dancing
wildly around the first of our Autumn bonfires.
(It's that time of year again in The Home Forest).

The splendid Sam Sparro's soulful contribution to
'Feelings Gone' is another upbeat dancefloor highlight.

The wonderfully itchy 'What's A Girl Gotta Do?' is
elevated to the realms of burlesque splendour by
Paloma Faith's perky and quirky performance.
There's more than one bat in the belfry in this
terrific composition.

Things slow down with 'Stay Close' a texturally intriguing song
brought gracefully alive by Lisa Kekaula, who, unlike the execrable
Ms White, really does have a beautifully expressive voice.

'Distractionz', another cracker, mixes African
and Latin elements into a rich rhythmic stew.
Jose Hendrix Ndelo brings it all vividly alive.

No doubt about it The Jaxx are back on form !

Highly Recommended.
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on 21 January 2010
What can I say, Basement Jaxx have one it again with another brilliant album that is their own unique sound. My favourite songs on there are Scars, Raindrops, Saga, She's no Good and Day of the Sunflowers but the whole album is listenable which I find for a lot of albums not all the songs can be. I look forward to their next album and hope it can match; though these guys are unstoppable.........
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on 11 February 2011
Fantastic Album, I can't stop listening to it. The BBC review says it all. Doesn't present the listener with as many 'dance anthems' as Basement Jaxx have provided us with before, the perhaps slightly 'darker' tone of the album lends itself to a bit more 'grown up' dance tracks. None the less a more than worthy addition to any music collection, highly recommended!
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Unlike some of their UK peers (who I won't name), Basement Jaxx have never taken credit for things they didn't invent. It's a tribute to them that that in 2009 their sound is bang up-to-date - not that far off upcoming producers like Hudson Mowhawke. In fact it could be argued that the Jaxx style is an early incarnation of "wonky".

However, with the exception of their masterwork Rooty their albums can, for me, be seriously patchy affairs. The last LP, the overlooked Crazy Itch Radio, was something of a return to form and as such I had high hopes for "Scars". But, like Remedy and Kish Kash before it, it's hit and miss - treading that fine line between what is cutting-edge and what is just a plain old racket.

"Scars" does start and finish strongly though. The opener (the title track - a Kelis collaboration) and the single "Raindrops" hold their own against the best of Basement Jaxx's existing back catalogue whilst closing tracks "Distractionz" and "Gimme Somethin' True" echo the best songs from the last album.

It's the middle section of the record that's problematic. "She's No Good" is BJ formula swing. "Saga" retreads the ska/reggae flavours from their first album to no good effect. Things pick up a bit with "Feelings Gone", but for me that one's just a little bit overcooked, and would have benefitted from a simpler arrangement and vocals from the band's own Felix Buxton, rather than collaborator Sam Sparro, would have sufficed. As for the Yoko Ono collaboration - well that falls firmly, predictably, into the aforementioned "racket" category.

There's certainly no shortage of ideas or skill on here, but in the end it all sounds a bit rushed to my ears. Sure, they've used a lot of guest stars (most notably for me, regular Moodymann collaborator Amp Fiddler) and that CAN work (witness Quincy Jones Back on the Block) - but if you're going to make a record like that you need to give each artist the respect they deserve, and that takes time and care.

Maybe given another 6 months in the studio this could have been a masterpiece. Instead it's just a little bit messy, underproduced and overambitious.
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on 21 July 2013
I have really enjoy listening to this album in the car, some great tunes on it. easy listening to bob your head to!!
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on 30 August 2013
A must for any Basement Jaxx fan. Almost every track on this album is great. Typical basement Jaxx quirky sounds.
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on 21 September 2009
after the so so last album, this one sees a return to form.
seem to be making music that they like rather than trying to please anyone else.
result: solid songs and meaty basslines.
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on 25 October 2009
Amazing tracks on this album, Basement Jaxx are back to their best. Every song is an uplifting tune that makes me want to jump around the room and dance with wild abandon LOL! It all sounds so crisp and each track is so innovative and different, combining sounds in a way I never imagined.

I love pretty much every track although standout tunes for me are Scars, Raindrops, Saga, She's No Good, Feelings Gone, Twerk, What's a Girl Gotta Do (featuring owls in a song - genius!) and Gimme Something' True.

Can't recommend this album highly enough!!!
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on 30 October 2009
Huge Basement Jaxx fan ever since Remedy in 1999. While Scars may not have the scarily perfect balance and flow of that first major release, it is still a whole lot of fun, offers a little something to everyone, and surely makes you wanna dance!
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on 21 September 2009
After a 3 year absence Jaxx return with their star studded new offering `Scars'. From the opener this feels like an entirely different beast. The title track swells and pulses with cut off synths and repetitive vocals, yet it sets an intriguing atmosphere that draws you into the incredibly catchy first single. `Raindrops' is a little too reminiscent of Empire of the Sun at times but it still works as a great summer anthem. `She's No Good' is then a very accomplished track in its restraint. They could have thrown another huge chorus straight into the mix with this track but instead they made a very intelligent track.

The album then descends into a seven track run of guest vocals starting with Santagold on the spooky dancehall influenced `Saga'. Sam Sparro then guests to great effect on the dance friendly `Feelings Gone' before Lightspeed Champion on `My Turn' which is gentle and unfortunately slightly forgettable. `A Possibility' has some quite simple but none the less pleasant harmonies on it before the much more dance orientated `Twerk'. Yoko Ono has an interesting trick of sounding slightly like a goat having an orgasm at odd moments of `Day of the Sunflowers(We March On)' which adds an element of comedy to an otherwise slightly boring track. `What's a Girl Gotta Do?' featuring new soul girl Paloma Faith is an interesting track with broken synths and consistant beats but it doesn't quite deliver on its promise.

With the big guest vocals over the album then closes out with three relaxed tracks which leave you wishing there had been more big choruses earlier in the album. Overall it is a nice offering, made with awareness that the scene from which the babd grew is no more but none the less it lacks the killing blow somewhere. Maybe they need to reinvent Basement Jaxx without the guests.
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