I’m not going to hide the fact – Jamiroquai are possibly my favourite band ever. I’ve bought every one of their albums and I’ve followed them since I bought “Emergency On Planet Earth” on cassette – aged 13. Jay Kay and the band introduced me to this thing called Jazz Funk or Acid Jazz at a time when the charts was filled with everything from Gloria Estefan and Tears for Fears through to East 17 and Take That (doesn’t that date them!).
I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve been discussing that for the last 17 years but I think you’ll all agree, there’s at least a couple of the bands tracks that you know and don’t mind listening to.
I bought this album without listening to it which breaks my golden ‘3 track’ rule but I was hoping for some progression and maybe even something different. The last couple of Jamiroquai’s albums seem to be a bit over produced and I have been looking for them to move onto wherever they’re trying to go.
With “Rock Star Light Dust” it opens with the title track and Jay saying “Yeah! That’s the one” referring to the quick rift that forms the main tune. The album then kicks off with a track that left the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. Brilliant! “Can’t be bettered” I think. That is followed up by “White Knuckle Ride” and for all of those looking for the perfect track to get yourselves in a going out mood, this is the ultimate track. Really superb. And for track number 3…?! Errr, well it goes a bit off-piste. The tempo has gone and a track called “Smoke and Mirrors” comes in. For me, I found this to be a bit of a shock. There I was all pumped up for some high energy Acid Jazz and here I am listening to something that has caught me off guard.
The tone follows on until a little later in the album when we get to “She’s A Fast Persuader” and we get a track that sounds more like their earlier stuff. In fact Jay Kay reuses some of “Traveling Without Moving” in this one. The following tracks also have a feeling of their earlier, more laid back stuff. We’re not quite at the instrumentals of “Emergency On Planet Earth” but some of the tracks like “Never Gonna Be Another” are particularly ‘chilled’.
What you do notice about this album is that it does seem more confident in it’s sound. It does sound like the gang have produced something that they wanted to and they felt happy with. It’s very natural. And although the sugary treats of the first two tracks set me up for an adrenaline ride of super funk, this album doesn’t disappoint with it’s well crafted audio journey. Yes, I know. You’re all going to cry “Bias!” but I have tried to be objective on this. And if you want proof of some skilled musical crafting, listen to the closing track – “Hey Floyd” – and tell me that isn’t good old/new/confident/improved Jamiroquai… or at least a good band.
If you don’t want to do that, then at least in “White Knuckle Ride” and “Rock Dust Light Star” Jay and the band have left us with another couple of dancy tracks that will live with us like “Traveling Without Moving” and I can carry on having my ‘discussions’ about Jamiroquai’s merits or not with people I meet.
It’s a bit late but I’d like to dedicate this blog post to my good friend Rich and his Birthday.