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They're Going To Jaxx You Up

Basement Jaxx

When the buzz about this group started during the Winter Music Conference in Miami way back in 1998, heads were spinning. People were raving about their fusion of house, salsa, disco, and tons of other styles to create the hippest, dancenist, tracks people had heard lately. Soon afterward, several labels were mentioned as trying to sign the group for a full-length proper and American dance music label Astralwerks were the lucky recipients of the duo's signatures.

Everyone has put in their two cents on the group, and the suprising thing about all the press that I've read is that it seems to be very very bi-polar. While some media outlets called it the dance album of the year (or better), many reviews I read slagged on it for being uncreative and hackneyed.

So what's it going to be?

Like nearly all music, you're either going to like it or not, and that's pretty much a given. Whether you like this disc or not depends on your acceptance and interest level of many different things. The first of these is that this album is pretty darn cheesy. It's a goofy, light, summer type of listen with lyrics in several songs, vocodor-ed singing, happy beats, and other bubbly extras. Many of the 15 tracks on the disc are extremely catchy, no doubt, and many of them ("Rendez-Vu," "Red Alert") have enough sass to melt the heart of even the most hardened techno listener.

However, one of the problems with the album is that after the super-solid beginning (including the songs mentioned above and the also uber-catchy "Yo-Yo") the second half or so of the album just doesn't compare. Most of the songs just plain don't work as well as the openers, and several of them drag on far too long before fizzling out (although the downtempo "Stop 4 Love" and pitch bent freakout of "Don't Give Up" give some fire to the tailend of things). They also slyly name-drop themselves on the album as much as nearly any hip-hop star that I've seen and name songs like The Artist with titles like "U Can't Stop Me" and "Being With U." Not that it's a major reason for concern, but sometimes it just makes it feel like they're trying too darn hard.

In the end, You'll either probably think that this album is the bomb or it should have a bomb dropped upon it. I personally think that it starts out great for the first one-third or so, then moves on throughout the rest of things in a hit-or-miss way. If the group can manage to put together a package full of uber-catchiness their next go-around I'll be all over it, but until then, I'll be using the program function on my CD player for Remedy.

Rating: 6.25