It is so easy to hate, to fear the Jaxx. Discover that they’ve been called the British Daft Punk, as if that was a positive thing, and weep. Who are these bastards? It’s not hard to find out in the European press: their stern faces are everywhere, on every magazine cover. And in these magazines you can find out about their legendary club that, oops, doesn’t exist any more, about how many cool American DJs think they’re cool too, about their degrees in engineering and languages, about how they’ve invented ‘punk garage’… and, yes, these are all fair, knee-jerk reasons to hate Basement Jaxx. ‘Remedy’, however, is not. Indeed, it is probably one of the better dance album produced this decade. Hate them that little bit more now?
Come on, fight it. Imagine, instead, that you’re fiddling through the radio band looking for something that, for a change, consistently surprises and lifts you. ‘Remedy’ is that pirate. It’s a wonderful new frequency where house, ragga, techno, soul, funk… Jesus, flamenco are all mashed together and it is beautifully melodic dance music that’s free of pretensions, but crammed with bold intelligence; that hits you as hard in the guts as it does in the feet.
It starts unconventionally with the folk-housy barrage of ‘Rendez-Vu’, all flamenco guitars, vocoder and romantic sentiment, and really doesn’t look back. Laugh at the genius of turning The Selector’s ‘On My Radio’ into a punky hip-hop anthem on ‘Same Old Show’. And wonder how Goldie can ever make another concept album now that his whole long-playing career has been so economically condensed into ‘Always Be There’s spun-out six minutes. These are some of the peaks on an album that really – save for ‘Bingo Bango’s over-exuberant Latino outburst – doesn’t have any dips. Indeed ‘Remedy’? highlights, once again, that musical boundaries are only there to be blurred. Blimey!