British funk band Jamiroquai have be making music for 25 years since their entry into the funk and acid jazz scene in 1992. Since then, Jamiroquai have been a key factor in shaping this new acid jazz movement across the UK.
Automaton is the eighth studio album by the English funk outfit, released on the last day of March through Virgin EMI. It is the band’s first album in seven years, following Rock Dust Light Star released in 2010.
The first track Shake It On is a conglomeration that blends Kay’s signature vocals with a ‘Daft Punk’-like beat that evolves into disco meets electronic pop. The title track and first single Automaton blends all genres, taking bits and pieces of all things fabulous, trying to spit them out in to one song. The listener will love it or hate it. It is also worth checking out the video depicting Jay Kay donning an interesting hat that resembles a hedgehog.
Second single, Cloud 9, presents the ’70s funk-flavoured Jamiroquai that we all know and love. No shock here, just funk, jazz and pop. The song Superfresh cycles back to the electronic experimentation with bass grooves mixed with funk and vocal disco vibes to match.
Album highlights include We Can Do It and the space funk of Dr. Buzz, which offers some political views on the affairs of the United States with big bass lines and lots of synths. Also not to be forgotten is Hot Property, a funky number and Nights Out in the Jungle, with its hip-hopping feel and borderline rapping.
The sounds of Automaton are displayed with exceptional musicianship, intense layering, and sonic genre-crossing galore. The album’s title is perfectly reflective of its sound; EDM robotics float throughout but nothing shadows the band’s original blend of funk, acid jazz, electronica, and pop from the ’70s.
There’s not much change in the way of Jamiroquai’s stylistic and musical direction here, although for the most part that doesn’t matter as Jamiroquai have a reputation for being tacky at times. However, they produce infectious shimmery tunes that for the most part are memorable. While Automaton is no different from previous Jamiroquai recordings, there are some moments that are promising but also some that lack luster; yet over all, another sound offering from this very unique band.
Review by Rob Lyon