XL / Astralwerks
For a band often referred to as “the future of dance music,” UK’s Basement Jaxx have yet to make the great album they have in them. Both Remedy and Rooty have produced some amazing singles — and a couple of great, darker non-singles — but the duo’s constant attempt to include as many elements as possible at all times has failed to come together as a unified, completely realized statement. In this regard, Kish Kash succeeds where its predecessors don’t; the duo achieve a unity of sound and production that the other albums don’t.
The song material isn’t uniformly successful, though. The teen-beat funk of “Plug It In” (featuring *Nsync “star” JC Chasez, no less) is one particularly bland moment, as is the annoying big beat soul-funk “Supersonic.” Both fail to move beyond a catchy beat. “If I Ever Recover” presents dreary sap, and “Tonight” is surprisingly generic.
But, most of this is pure fusion dance-punk gold. “Good Luck” packs a powerful hook and glorious vocals courtesy of the Bellrays’ Lisa Kekaula, while original goth-punk queen Siouxsie Sioux pops up on the title track. The fragmented Latin pop schmooze of “Hot ‘n’ Cold” is great; as is the fine Me’Shell Ndegocello-assisted “Right Here’s the Spot.” Best of the lot, though, is “Lucky Star,” a crazed and frantic dance-punk anthem featuring UK rapper Dizzee Rascal in the performance of his lifetime. This last track has all the ingredients of a Basement Jaxx classic: their eclecticism running in overdrive, demonstrating an undiscriminating fusion approach that, in its finest moments, pull out all the plugs and succeeds at it. Basement Jaxx have yet to make their definitive album, but Kish Kash lets us know they’re still the guys spearheading the dance revolution.