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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Basement Jaxx - Crazy Itch Radio
Release Date: September 12
Label: Xl Recordings

I had the pleasure of seeing Basement Jaxx live this summer and the biggest thing that struck me during their performance was an incredible sense of anything-goes energy. On their new album, Crazy Itch Radio, it’s the songs with this kind of feeling that stand out amongst the rest.

The highlights of the album are easily the gypsy-folk-dance of Hey You (with an ace guest vocal from Robyn) and Run 4 Cover, which sounds a little like Hollaback Girl’s frenetic, twisted cousin. As with Basement Jaxx’s earlier work, Crazy Itch Radio tries to be a little bit of everything. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it’s just a mess. Take Me Back To Your House sounds a bit like Kylie gone country and it’s probably the most immediate pop song on the album. On the other side of the spectrum, Everybody incorporates so many different vocals, sounds and tones that it ends up being more of a sound collage than a real song.

All ten of the album’s proper songs feature guest vocalists and are on the poppier (though still experimental) side of dance music. There are also interludes that give the impression that you’re listening to the radio (of the crazy itch variety, apparently), which helps the album feel more cohesive. Still, while it’s a pretty consistent listen, there isn’t much on Crazy Itch Radio that really stands out. It’s better and more self-contained than most dance records, but there’s a lingering sense that it just could have been a bit better. B

Key Tracks: Hey You, Run 4 Cover, Take Me Back To Your House


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