Basement Jaxx - The Singles
UK Release Date:

21 March 2005

Track Listing:

1. Red Alert
2. Good Luck
3. Romeo
4. Oh My Gosh
5. Bingo Bango
6. Where’s Your Head At
7. Rendez-Vu
8. Jump N’ Shout
9. Lucky Star
10. Plug It In
11. U Don’t Know Me
12. Do Your Thing
13. Jus 1 Kiss
14. Flylife
15. Samba Magic

Basement Jaxx - The Singles (XL Recordings)
•• Published: SoundsXP, April 2005
Original article:

There is something quite reassuring about a greatest hits album. You know you are going to get an artist's best known material, minus the filler and misguided experimental numbers, plus you are free of that uneasy feeling that comes with new releases that a band may in some way let you down or disappoint you. 'The Singles' from Basement Jaxx still holds a surprise though, and that is just how solid their back catalogue is.

Flaunting a strength and depth beyond the reach of most dance acts, this collection shows just how Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe managed to shift the emphasis of credible dance music from chin stroking to ass shaking when they first gatecrashed the scene with 1997's 'Fly Life'.

This manic, ragga-charged breakthrough and the Latino-flavoured Ibiza favourite that preceded it, 'Samba Magic', are both included here, with the duo's playful, genre-crunching tendencies in evidence from the very start. From the vocodered flamenco funk of Rendez-Vu to the house-infused, summer soul of 'Red Alert' through to the melding of Middle East and East London on Dizzee Rascal collaboration, 'Lucky Star', they successfully turn their hand to a plethora of different styles and sounds.

This is a pure party album with substance and originality and a carnival atmosphere running throughout, never moreso than on trumpeted salsa shanty 'Bingo Bango', as the south London lads show a joyous contempt for downtempo balladry. From the sleazy Numan synths and chant-along stomp of 'Where's Your Head At' to the disco cheer of 'Jus 1 Kiss' the tempo is kept high throughout, but it is a shame the same cannot be said of the quality.

The two obligatory bonus tracks may be designed to snare die-hard fanatics but be warned, do not buy this album purely for the fresh material on offer - recent single 'Oh My Gosh' sounds like a Paula Abdul offcut from the eighties while 'U Don't Know Me' is full of faux female attitude and precious little besides. These below par, musical pancakes are made to sound even worse by the esteemed musical company they find themselves within.

While this may not bode well for the next album, if you like upbeat music that is guaranteed to put a cheese-free smile on your face and your collection is lacking some Basement Jaxx, get your hands on this excellent collection of dancefloor classics now.

- Ian Roullier

Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014