Jamiroquai: A Funk Odyssey
Brilliance shines through star turn Jay Kay and his recently assembled groove crew. For seven years and four albums, Jamiroquai have experimented with their musicality and have chosen to swim against the techno/dance tide to produce Synkronized, a disco record as sweet as honey and as sultry as sweat and bone.
The astute listener will expect much from a Jamiroquai album. However, Synkronized may come as a surprise. The concept has a lackadaisical attitude, yet with a sense of youthful energy. The album's fusion of disco and dance comes from Kay's own musical influences: everything and anything! He has no formal musical education and was reared on everything from jazz to pop and from punk to disco. Was his zany stage persona (Buffalo/Medicine Man) borne out of watching his jazz diva mother on stage? Whatever the reason, a Jamiroquai show is as much presentation as it is musical. As such, Jay Kay is groove expounded. At twenty-nine, he possesses the complete modern rock star persona, but covered with a green environmental edge. Synkronized is right in line with Jamiroquai's underlying theme of reduce, reuse and recycle. A self confessed tree hugger, Kay writes and sings about earthly environmental issues (Planet Home) while creating a disco resurgence (Black Capricorn Day) that injects a new groove back into pop music.
In a relatively short period, Jay Kay has pulled Jamiroquai to the top of the pop heap and forged an indelible mark upon his huge audience. By their third album, Travelling Without Moving, Jamiroquai had achieved platinum (X8!) status in the US and were by far the fastest selling band in the UK; no small feat given the competitive climate. Defining itself with a unique style, Jamiroquai took a three-year hiatus to concentrate on Synkronized. The result is an album that demonstrates musicianship as well as crystallized style - a record that does not lose its effect through saturated production or excessive overdubbing.
As Synkronized is a damn good dance record, may I suggest you check yourself for a pulse, and when found, do yourself the favour of making a purchase? Your deep down groove will thank you for it. Synkronized is great entertainment, eschewing the philosophizing that brings on paroxysms by the more sophisticated listener. A great album, then, and one I would nominate as the finest "pop" album of '99. Listen, enjoy, and dance, dance, dance.
[The Official Jamiroquai Website can be found at http://www.jamiroquai.co.uk - Ed.]
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