Remedy, by Basement Jaxx
Suggested by Andy Scott-Morrissey
A mere five album reviews ago, I revealed that I’m not a dancer. The Randomiser heard this, and flashed me a two-finger salute. Both this album and the following album are writ large on the Ancient Scrolls of Spasmodic Electronic Gamboling Gyration (or ASSEGG). I’ve a good mind to leap to my feet and do the Running Man straight out the door.
But no! I must proceed with my review. It’s not Basement Jaxx’s fault I’m no fan of their form. New Year, New Me and all that. It’s 2021, quite literally the future. All music is electronic from now on.
I feel there was a time when Basement Jaxx were almost everywhere. I guess that’s a good thing, for the band’s residual income at the very least. Going into my listen of their debut studio album Remedy, I’d have been hard-pressed to name a single song, but by the end I’d picked out at least two that left a mark and were likely overplayed back in the day. I’m sure you can guess which two they are, but I’ll save the reveal for later.
As far as dance music goes, Basement Jaxx are pretty decent. They’re a little dated now, to the modern ear, but I’d label them more classic than past it. Remedy was released in 1999, making over twenty years old, from an era in which it was apparently fine to include a double-x in your band name. It’s officially categorised as House music, a genre of electronic dance music noted for its four-on-the-floor beat and a tempo of 120-130 bpm.
On the whole, Remedy is a joyful record, plump and pregnant with overflowing tunes. It’s dance at its most fertile, packed full of nutrients and ripe with spreading seed. The opener Rendez-Vu, the band’s highest-placing single to date, is particularly gravid but still appears spacious and light. Yo Yo then fills the available space with the clicking whirs of technology, before the excellent Jump ‘n Shout brings an urban African tinge to the mix.
The two songs of particular note for me are also high-placing singles. First there’s the sassy funk of Red Alert, with its in-your-face female vocal and it’s grubby little bassline. Then there’s my standout song, the Latin-infused Bingo Bango, a song that’s successfully snaked its greasy tendrils into TV shows and movies on a variety of occasions. Even Basement Jaxx themselves know its pedigree, as they closed their live show with it countless times.
On the downswing, however, there are frogs in the piss-pot. The album is littered with trite incidentals such as Jaxxalude and Jazzalube and Sneakalude, each an unformed idea or snippet that saps the albums valuable real estate. Then there’s the more dreamy and dreary closers to the album; I’d say the last three songs add little spice to the mix, meaning Remedy bows out with a lulling yawn and slinks off into the night.
I think 6/10 is a fine score for this album. As I said above, Basement Jaxx are not without merit. The songs are bubbly and full of life, for the most part. If any fans of the dance genre out there are feeling out of sorts, then Remedy is sure to cure what ails you.