posted on November 08, 2010 18:00
A review of the album 'Rock Dust Light Star' by Jamiroquai
Review Snapshot: The seventh album from this popular electro-funk band. Brimming with jazz, funk, and catchy disco floorfillers, Jay Kay has a long way to go before hanging up his oversized hat.
Cluas Verdict: 7 out of 10
Full Review: It's easy to forget how long Jamiroquai have been going. ‘Rock Dust Light Star’ is the seventh album from a band that have been knocking out the albums since the early 90s. Despite the 6 albums already under their belt, a plethora of MTV awards and let's not forget a Grammy, the band clearly have no plans to slow down & are keen to showcase that with this latest offering. So were the recent tirades against X Factor judges genuine concerns over the way some might deem the music industry to be headed, or just well orgnised hype to promote a mediocre album?
With its subdued melody and uninspiring lyrics, the opening track ‘Rock Dust Light Star’ was a surprisingly passive choice to open a comeback album for a band of a predominately funk nature. Thankfully, it quickly becomes apparent with the second track ‘White Knuckle Ride’ that despite the five year absence the band have no intention of turning their back on their popular disco influenced electro-funk sound. From the first beat the track has the energy and likeability of ‘Little L’, an instant floor filler and easily the best single on the album.
The album progresses well. With its high-pitched lead and backing vocals ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is fantastically retro. ‘All Good in the Hood’ starts with a thumping beat which when comined with some pleasing bass guitar chords goes on to mingle brilliantly with the R&B falsetto Jay Kay brings to the track. “Did I forget to mention a little bit of tension makes the world alright..”
‘Hurtin’ is a little rock gem hidden away between poppier tracks. Jay Kay’s raspy vocals are perfect for the wounded sound he is clearly aiming for. Personally I loved the disilusioned backing refrain of “How the hell did i loose ya”, a far more plausible approach to a lost love than what’s normally heard from pop bands.
‘She’s a fast persuader’ sounds, at first, like a bizzare Shaft meets Bee Gee’s collaboration. But it works and is funky with a capital F. The kinky lyrics make no attempt to disguise Jay Kay’s well documented love of the opposite sex. “I love it when you get on it and hurt me babe, on your knees once again..” Racy lyrics and a rousing saxaphone combine to produce what is undoubtedly the funkiest track on the album.
The Caribbean beats in ‘Goodbye To My Dancer’, give the track a Reggae vibe which works brilliantly with Jay Kay's catchy ska-style vocals and make it difficult not to nod along to.
Downsides of the album include ‘Blue Skies’ which sounds bizarrely like a Take That tribute. The lyrics are incredibly boring: (“I'm not gonna give up on all the day’s I’ve won, there’s nothing but Blue Sky” ) and are even sung in a fashion that makes Jay Kay sound eerily similiar to Mark Owen.
‘Lifeline’, although more uptempo, still sounds more like it was written for Robbie Williams (or with the big band sound dare I say even Michael Bublé). It's not the strongest track on the album and the sentimental lyrics are served up with lashings of cheese: ‘’I’ll never feel alone now cos i’m back on the road with you” “My baby’s saving me, she got a lifeline of love, she got it all thrown out to me....running through the sunset just me and you together”. On the plus side the unexpected key changes mess with the typical song structure and keep you interested until the very last note.
Overall ‘Rock Dust Light Star’ the album showcases Jay Kay’s ability to think outside the box, not just comply with the funk/pop/jazz genre but expand into rock, ska, reggae and dance. Depsite the 5 year absence however they’ve had the good judgement to stick to what's assured their success to date and have kept a considerable piece of this pie disco-friendly.