Jamiroquai - Dynamite

2006-03-30 00:37

Like Jay Kay's previous hit albums, Dynamite is an addictive, complex, airwaves friendly, blend of funk, jazz, soul, dance and chilled out whaka whaka wow sounds.

Jamiroquai's jazzed up singing and easy listening rock movement are a bit like Steely Dan's. Just without the fascinatingly perverted lyrics, or the er, grit. But with added layered vocals of disco-styled chorus girls. And sound effects. And lounging vocals. And a funky beat. And wait, there's more...

Sound like overkill? Not when you play it, because the superslick production makes the richness of the elements involved in this record much more digestible than they should be. And some of the tricks Jay Kay plays are pure genius. Try the loony bells and pestoed beats of "Electric Mistress," or the wandering acoustic piano lines and swanky brass of "Talullah". You can also explore the seductive tempo melts and builds of the acidic, rocking "Black devil car" or "Love blind"'s later movements. Yes, movements.

The effect of obscuring the many layers of musical meaning with such smooth production, is that this music can play two roles with equal ease. Blasted on headphones, or in a small space like a car, it's absorbing and uplifting, awe inspiring in its virtuoso cheesiness. Some tracks genuinely push the boundaries of popular taste, but not so much by inventing as by blending an astounding variety of elements not normally associated with one another.

Played as background, Dynamite blends in, always uplifting, but never butting into the conversation. When the music stops, someone might ask: "What was that?" And you'd say "Jamiroquai." And they'd nod: "Quite nice." Fair enough, considering that's the first impression. But there's more to it. It's just that the More is less in your face than it is with most good music.

While some may not consider Jamiroquai the great innovator he once was, these critics may underestimate his impact. Surely the most important thing anyone can do is influence, shape and freshen people's perception of pop music?

- Jean Barker

"...there's an elegant languor to Dynamite's Starbucks-soul that shouldn't be dismissed. The vocals, which may well have been recorded from a chaise longue, mesh beguilingly with sunny melodies that rank with Jamiroquai staples like Cosmic Girl."
- Caroline Sullivan for The Guardian

That Jamiroquai has headed off in a new direction is evident from the first few chords of Dynamite, but relax fans; this latest offering actually isn't all that different from what we've come to expect from this feather hat-wearin', Ferrari-drivin' funkster.
- Richard Holmes for iAfrica.com

Since he stopped being trendily underground, Jamiroquai has produced some awesome pop, made millions of fans and lost the respect of many critics. Dynamite continues in the vein of Jay Kay's previous two albums, but has a harder edge that seems to be winning him his old cool status - and rightly so.

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