Seven years is a long time by anyone’s standards. According to “science”, we are almost completely different people than when Rock Dust Light Star (2010) was released (joke). Seriously, though, it’s been a long time since Jamiroquai has fed us lit bass lines and sweet beats. So, do they still have it?
In short, the “future disco” maestros still got it. But, sadly, as it happened with Rock Dust Light Star, they still can’t live up to the massive hype built around the release. Their eighth studio album sounds exactly as you think it does, and that’s good, but not great.
Despite launching itself with energy and determination with Shake It On, Cloud 9 (personal pick for best song) and Automaton (the first single), the album slowly decays into a comfortable mid-table performance (Mom! I made a football reference!). Their sound, granted, is mature and thought through, and maybe it’s on purpose that they refrain from exploding into nu-disco ecstasy, but I think we all want to hear the energetic, buzzed, supernova-y masterpiece of a song, and it’s nowhere to be found, sadly.
That said, this is a grownup album. As it happens with maturing bands, maybe it’s some of us who are trapped in the memory of the past, expecting something more similar to their great Emergency on Planet Earth (1993). On this note, Automaton is soulful. The lyrics come with a message. They are still very good at their jobs.
There may be some who disagree, who say Automaton is a good sign of growing up as artists and as people. There may be some others like me, yearning for the excitement of years past. What do you guys make of it?
Oh, you can catch them on tour.
Listen to Automaton below.