Basement Jaxx

Kish Kash

(Astralwerks; 2003)

By Andy Watkins | 28 October 2003

Electronic/Techno/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-say albums are notoriously difficult to successfully produce. If a record is only good in a club under the control of an adept DJ, it's not going to appeal to everyday buyers looking for a new disc to listen to on the way to visit their relatives. If the music is made too accessible, however, there will be a backlash from club kiddies and techno purists claiming that a sell-out has occurred.

Enter Basement Jaxx. Somehow this group has been able to balance that absurdly thin line between club-worthy and stereo-worthy while keeping both sides happy. Their hype was mostly underground/amongst the "musically inclined" until 2001's Rooty was released and "Where's Your Head At?" hit it big on radio and MTV2. After that everybody was talking about those crazy "monkey-guys" and more people were extolling the virtues of 1999's Remedy. This inevitably caused some problems. Everyone who liked Basement Jaxx worried what direction the next album would take, fearing the group would make the next release more pop-oriented and move away from the sound that made them popular in the first place.

Fortunately, the masses have nothing to fear. While a couple of the choices for special guests confuse me (JC Chasez? What the hell, guys?), Kish Kash is a pleasingly consistent record, easily enjoyable from beginning to end with little to no track skipping. Of course, if track skipping/cherry picking is your "bag" than allow me to make some recommendations: "Good Luck," "Lucky Star," "Supersonic," "Cish Cash" and "Hot N Cold." These seem like some of the strongest tracks on the album and will get you moving, even if you are only moving in your mind (the JC track, "Plug It In," would have made the list if the lead vocals had been handled by someone else). If you really liked Remedy and/or Rooty or need an album that will work equally well at your next homespun rave or chillout time, check out Kish Kash.