Jamiroquai
Automaton


3.5
great

Review

by insomniac15 STAFF
March 31st, 2017 | 70 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Saturday night fever with Jamiroquai...

At this point in their career, Jamiroquai don't have anything to prove anymore. Their music is timeless, many hits have become classics, plus they sell out arenas each time they tour. These achievements offer them the luxury of releasing new music at a preferred pace. Unfortunately, it's a damn slow one, because 7 years lapsed since Rock Dust Light Star saw the light of day. Still, if this is what it takes to receive good tunes, then I'm fine with it.

After years of speculation, during which fans clung to any piece of news offered by the band members, Jamiroquai finally unveiled Automaton, their 8th studio effort. The title track was the first taste, showcasing a retro futuristic approach delving slightly deeper than A Funk Odyssey or Dynamite into electronic territory. The move is a bit surprising, since Rock Dust Light Star felt more organic and gave hope to those who still expected a return to form (move on, post-Travelling Without Moving Jamiroquai is a different beast), however, it also shows us Jay Kay isn't ready to rest on his laurels yet. He took a page from the Daft Punk book, applied it to his own formulas and to be honest, it sounds really pleasant. I am a big fan of their disco tunes and especially the underrated Dynamite, who put off many fans due to the direction it took. The detached verses of 'Automaton' heavily contrast the melodic choruses, whereas the singer discusses the rise of artificial intelligence & technology all over the world and how it affects us as human beings or our relationships. Backing this sonic theme, the dance floor-ready opener, 'Shake it On' builds on sequencers and deep bass lines, on top of which Jay offers his trademark vocal delivery, often vocoded. Even though this modern twist to the old school disco was always present in their music and further developed since late '90s, here is nonchalantly displayed to full effect.

Moreover, second single, 'Cloud 9' is that typical funky Jamiroquai tune that elegantly struts in front of you. The classy keyboards and drum beats drive the song, while the guitars discreetly embellish it. Kay's voice is as smooth as it was in the '90s, but it doesn't feel like a rehash of past classics. It's a really catchy, mature display of their strengths. 'Superfresh', 'Hot Property' and 'Nights Out in the Jungle' are like the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack only envisioned by Prince. The slap bass bonanza, synth mania and clean funk guitars are the foundation to these sexy tunes. You can just picture the front man sashaying around to lure you into hours of intense dance sessions and cocaine binging. 'Nights Out in the Jungle' sounds more organic, relying on a cool bass groove and a locked drum pattern. It could've been more diverse, but they want you to shake it, not think things too much. Sandwiched by these tracks is 'Summer Girl', a sophisticated counterpart to these high octane numbers. Adding a string section to the mid-tempo melody, the song emanates the atmosphere of those hot night pool parties in '80s movies. Same goes with 'Dr Buzz', which makes good use of warm synth pads and fleshed out drumming (especially towards the end).

The party goes on with the strong 'Something About You' and the spastic 'Vitamin', showcasing the effort put into creating a cohesive and more important, fun experience. Kay's lyrics and delivery are suited for the uplifting cuts and Automaton abounds with them. Still, I would've wanted a comedown from this all out discotheque or at least a couple of rockers to counterpoise things out. A ballad would've been nice, even though they are usually hit-and-miss, or at least an intimate moment to have an all encompassing journey. Maybe this is Jay's way to show fans that aging doesn't stop him from dancing (there's no need as he still looks 20 years younger than he actually is) or just wanted to offer something to lift their spirits. The reason why I love Dynamite (and an example to why I find this one a bit flat) is the balance songs like 'Hot Tequila Brown', 'Tallulah', 'Seven Days in Sunny June' or 'Black Devil Car' brought to the disco/funk side. I personally wish there were some moments like those here, but then again, it's too late now to ask for that. In the end, this is a great album, perfect for a retro rave and I am happy to see the band reactivated. Hopefully, it won't take them another 7 years to release the next LP.




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user ratings (60)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2017


4388 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album, however, I feel it lacks some subdued moments to balance all the party songs.



'Cloud 9' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVMtKQMAZqw

'Automaton' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmlmOk4ubcU

Davil667
March 31st 2017


2792 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, gives me some hope :] I also totally agree with Dynamite being damn awesome.



Will get on this one later that day, quite stoked now tbh.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2017


7605 Comments


Dynamite pales in comparison to A Funk Odyssey, that's why people (me included) kind of downvote it.

On another note, this album should do fine, even though I miss the times where Jamiroquai were a proper band.

Digging: Fleurety - The White Death

Davil667
March 31st 2017


2792 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Dynamite, Synkronized and Funk Odyssey are pretty much on par for me, all are very enjoyable records. I def agree with the last part of your comment though, hard.

FullOfSounds
March 31st 2017


15582 Comments


Loved the lead single

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
March 31st 2017


13631 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The groove on this thing is awesome. If Superfresh doesn't make you move, you have no soul.

Digging: Big Dumb Face - Where Is Duke Lion? He's Dead...

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2017


4388 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Davil - Thank you! Yeah, this is just fine. Nothing groundbreaking, just them releasing good music. At this point in their career, I'm totally okay with it. The next album will probably drop in 2025 anyway.



@Voivod - The last time they were a proper band was Travelling Without Moving (and Synkronized which still featured a couple of the old members), I kind of moved on from thinking they'll ever go back to the old school stuff. A Funk Odyssey has some awesome tracks, but the second part is a bit inconsistent. This is why I find Dynamite better (plus, it's more diverse IMO).

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2017


4388 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, they still got the groove. I've been listening to Cloud 9 a lot in the past few days.

FullOfSounds
March 31st 2017


15582 Comments


Man that cover art is awesome too, might make this my first Jamiroquai. I need some fun, bouncy tracks in my life

romulanrancor
March 31st 2017


7388 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

DO IT, then check space cowboy

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2017


4388 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Their discography is full of fun, bouncy tracks. You can check the greatest hits album if you want a quick retrospective.

romulanrancor
March 31st 2017


7388 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

that comp has single versions though, which aren't as good

FullOfSounds
March 31st 2017


15582 Comments


I prefer LPs anyway

VaxXi
March 31st 2017


4135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know what I'm listening to today

Tunaboy45
March 31st 2017


15611 Comments


great band, need to check this out

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
March 31st 2017


5447 Comments


Shiiiit, 7 years since Rock Star?
Lovely review my dude. I'll be getting on this one proper sharpish

Ebola
March 31st 2017


2869 Comments


Rock Dust Light Star is sick. Excited to hear this.

Tunaboy45
March 31st 2017


15611 Comments


I'm just glad they're still making kickass music

StickFeit
March 31st 2017


690 Comments


This is sexy

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
March 31st 2017


11563 Comments


Nice one, gonna check for sure.



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