After the ambitious year of 2009 with Basement Jaxx back-to-back albums Scars and Zephyr, the following year’s collaboration with Metropole Orkest, Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton have given some time to their lives outside of Basement Jaxx. Therefore, after a five year break Basement Jaxx are back with their seventh album Junto which recalls the peak of 90s house, a revival that has already started with new artists. With it being Basement Jaxx, the revival of 90s house is unique through its message of togetherness, including the title Junto which means together in Spanish, and through its energetic beats. This return to their roots reminds us why we first liked them, illustrated with the lively single ‘Unicorn’ and ‘Rock This Road’ which produce energetic dance tracks. The band have cherry-picked a team of vocalists including power divas and funky singers, all extremely enigmatic with styles that include garage, house, hip-hop and disco. All of this allows Buxton and Ratcliffe’s producing to shine through reflecting their early days.
‘Mermaid of Salinas’, a track which has a flamenco style, is one of the tracks which announced the album’s arrival and the uneven sounds of ‘Buffalo’ featuring Mykki Blanco produce a darker side to the album while emphasising the lighter songs in the album. In addition the piano house track ‘Never Say Never’ illustrates just how Basement Jaxx can produce dynamic house anthems full of their iconic pop savvy style.
Even if Junto isn’t quite as brilliant as Basement Jaxx’s early EPs or nearly flawless first three albums, through its message of togetherness and its energetic beats it isn’t irrelevant or like the duo are after their former success. It’s an album that brings back the feel good dance music of the 90s through fresh and talented producing.