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Welcome to the bargain Basement,
This review is from: The Singles [2CD] (Audio CD)
I bought "Red Alert" when it was first released and immediately decided it was the funkiest thing on the planet since Fred Funk sang "Funky Town" while doing the funky chicken. I danced round the living room like an ostrich on hot coals and it took three hours to pop my kneecaps back in. That song opens up this snorting compilation of Basement Jaxx, s singles output and the most amazing thing about this album is that from that ecstatically effervescent opening the pace never lets up. "Good Luck" has more belting soul tinged vocals and is reminiscent of some of the euphoric house style material Moby produced before "Play" "Romeo" has monstrous stabs of synth replicating huge chunky rock riffs over undulating backing rythmns."Oh My Gosh" is a little too 90.s pop, and its g funk stop start arrangement reminds me worryingly of Five Star. "Bingo Bango" takes Bossanova on a whirlwind tour of every club in Britain while the superb "Wheres Your Head at" is dance given a punky gleam and sardonic thrust that only the Prodigy (Occasionally) has matched. "Rendez-Vu" shuffles ergonomically like a skiffle player skidding on black ice and will make your potted plants sway and then uproot. "Jump N, Shout" is completely bonkers, ragga house with wobble board effects and bug eyed vocals. "Plug it in" is syncopated pop layered under coarse keyboards and a goose stepping arrangement. Dizee Rascal guests on "Lucky Star" where the chorus is filtered in from a parallel universe or maybe a parallel studio and is irrepressibly catchy. THe last third of the album sees the band run out of ideas to a certain extent. "U Don't know Me" centres around a simple bump n, grind riff and na na na backing vocals. "Do Your Thing" is Light weight nightclub fodder with a 30,s swing vibe while "Flylife" is a tired rehash of "Lucky Star" though the cyclic rhythm centre of the song is great and makes me frustrated at the missed opportunity this track represents. "Samba Magic" is most definitely Samba but contains little actual magic being a bog standard samba arrangement overlaid with squeaky keyboards. "Jus 1 Kiss" is better, with a terrific pop harmony and jigging keyboards.
The bonus "Traxx" see various B sides and alternative versions compiled on a separate disc and for the extra quid being asked is certainly well worth considering. Whether it's the plump bass lines of "Magnificent Romeo", the "Egyptian Reggae" sampling "Mere Pass" or the classic disco overtones of "Miracles Keep On Playin" there is much to enjoy . There is a live version of "Good Luck" , a Latin version Of "Rendez -Vu" which bored me to death but many will find amusingly quirky, and most surprisingly an acoustic version of "Broken Dreams" which has overwrought vocals courtesy of Kele le Roc but some nice plangent trumpet. There is also an acoustic version of "Romeo" which is lovely but unfortunately Features Ms Le Roc again. Best of all is the clamorous stomping "Onyx" and the barmy ska and acid tinged "Camberskank". The Isley Bootleg of "Jus 1 Kiss" isn't half bad either.
As with any compilation you can gripe about some of the omissions. Why no "Get me Off" for instance, but overall this is a supremely put together package with at least six absolute classics not just of the dance genre but y,know ,of just music generally and now that dance music seems to be dying a slow protracted but undeniable death we need the likes of Basement Jaxx more than ever.