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Album Review: Jamiroquai – Automaton

3 min read
Photo: Purple PR

It’s been some time since we last heard from Virtual Insanity hit makers Jamiroquai and the bands eccentric Buffalo Man front man, Jay Kay. Last heard in the charts with their 2010 record, Rock Dust Light Star the band have been laying low over the past 7 years; carefully crafting a return to the international stage when the timing was just right. That time is now and the funk collective have delivered one of THE records of 2017 in the shape of their eighth studio release, Automaton.

Getting right down to business with infectious opener, Shake It Off, the band flex their electronic muscles and show they can still pack a powerful punch after a lengthy hiatus on a track which overflows with disco beats and some funky Nile Rodgers-esque guitar work; resulting in a versatile and musically diverse hit to start our love affair with this new record.

Lead single and title track Automaton is one of the biggest ear-worms to be released this year. In fact, I would go as far as saying that it is not just the bands best work, but one of the best tracks released in the last decade. Accompanied by an equally impressive video, the track combines lead singer Jay Kay’s skilled vocals with a robotic inspired melody that is as hook-heavy as they come. Something new can be found on this track with each listen; whether it be a quirky backing vocal tucked into a crevasse somewhere along the way or an instrumental effect that further compliments the records signature electro-pop style, Automatic is a truly exquisite hit for the band to make their stellar comeback with.

Latest single Cloud 9 is a smooth mid-tempo number while disco reigns supreme on Superfresh, which sits early on in the record as one of the key tracks on Automaton, and the bass-rich Nights Out In The Jungle.

Summer Girl, with its eighties-blue movie inspired instrumentation and laid back rhythm, sits confidently in the centre of the tracklisting as Dr Buzz serves us rich and soulful backing vocals, a cool saxophone solo and a casual melody complete with a brief Bladerunner synth nod that sets itself apart within the tracklisting as its most laid-back tenant.

As the title suggests, Automaton is a very industrial and robotic-effects laden collection for the band who have always been at the forefront of the ever-changing electronic scene. While the bands funk roots run freely through each of the additions within the new record, the strong electronic vein that links each of the new tracks is what has created a career defining record for Jamiroquai.