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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Basement Jaxx
Scars
Ultra

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


October 12, 2009
Imagine an expansive musical universe with an endless cast of vocalists at your disposal. Whenever you have a vision, you call practically anybody and within minutes they arrive, eager to be shaped into exactly what you were looking for on your new hit song. If this image of music without limitations sounds like what you dream about every night, then you probably live vicariously through Basement Jaxx.

Within seconds of the duo's fifth album, opening track "Scars" transports listeners to a hauntingly seductive world where Meleka's and Kelis' voices play off each other over twisted yet bafflingly accessible production. Wherever Scars goes next, it will have a hard time getting more exciting.

The next few tracks continue in the style of "Scars," with chilling production in the forefront without forgoing the beat: "She's No Good" has an in-your-face triplet structure that puts a new spin on a retro hook and "Saga" puts Jaxx's signature sound behind Santigold, tinting her shine like she's never sounded before. "Raindrops" does a better job setting the tone for the rest of the album, with a more approachable (and highly danceable) feel that might underwhelm on the first listen (anything sandwiched between "Scars" and "She's No Good" probably will) but still proves worthwhile.

If not for the abrasive nature of "Twerk" and uniquely styled goofiness of "What's a Girl Gotta Do," Scars might have sunk under the weight of too many songs too sweet to highlight Jaxx's innovative genius. Instead, the diversity culminates in tracks like "D.I.S.tractionz," which is far from a dance number but still takes advantage of its production to become infectiously catchy. An entire album as powerful and immediate as "Scars" sounds enticing in theory, but Basement Jaxx knows better than turning a single, creative sound into a stale, contrite formula, especially when an unprecedented amount of talent is at their beck and call.

Reviewed by JJ Lang


See other reviews by JJ Lang

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