Written by P. E. Nelson
“SOUL PUNX UNITE,” reads the legend on the illustration on the cover of this disc – an apt clue to what lies in store on Kish Kash, the third installment from the dynamic duo of Felix Buxton & Simon Ratcliffe, otherwise known as Basement Jaxx. These wildly inventive British DJ’s have been determinedly breaking every rule of the dance floor, creating their own manic punk rockin’ disco funkiness that is rather addictive. Deconstructed dance floor beats meet classic 80s synth sounds meet future electronics meet thrash guitars. Well, if you were to toss into a blender The Pet Shop Boys, George Clinton, a liberal dose of Prince, a touch of the Clash and a smattering of hot salsa, you’d have a Basement Jaxx smoothie – which, when garnished with hot vocals? Well, the result is irresistible.
Building on the foundation of their last two releases, the boys have turned in their most polished gem thus far. As with 2001’s Rooty, Basement Jaxx keep busy in the background grinding out the sonic madness while handing the mike over to a diverse roster of vocalists to handle vocal duties – to often marvelous effect. Putting a great voice through the Jaxx filter creates stunning and often surprising results.
Me’Shell Ndegeocello weighs in twice on this disc, sultry and butch as ever with the Prince-like groove of, “Right Here’s The Spot,” while weighing in tender and smooth on the disc’s closing track. However, the Prince-Like Groove Award would have to go, hands down, to JC Chasez, who squeals and breathes heavy all over the delightfully lascivious, “Plug It In,” working every inch of this sleazy, Dirty Mind-era jam. Ever try to live without the makeup? Why, JC, look at you now…
Brit Rapper Dizzee Rascal glides over the creaky Bollywood landscape of “Lucky Star” with a deftness that may make him the most interesting set of chops to come from their side of the Atlantic in years. Fellow Brit and near living legend Siouxise Sioux sounds as though she’s having the most fun she’s had in a long time on the sexy, pouty title track. Twinty-plus years on, she sounds as punk as ever, even in this electronic context.
The over-all real stunner here is the blistering performance by Barkays’ singer Lisa Kekaula on disc opener, “Good Luck,” which contains the best jilted lover kiss off in quite awhile (Sorry, Justin), Good luck in your new bed/ enjoy your nightmares, Honey/ when you’re resting your head. This is a voice of which we definitely need to hear more.
As mentioned before, the boys are DJs, and this disc has the feel of a fantastic night on the dance floor. This is one of those albums that will have your on your feet for most of its duration. Each track stands impeccably on its own yet also mixes perfectly with its neighbors. With many electronic musicians, a certain sameness has set in by the third album – if they make it that far – but if this disc is any indication of the direction in which the boys from Basement Jaxx are headed, it looks like it’s going to be a great ride.