Basement Jaxx

Kish Kash

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    9
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With two full-length masterpieces behind them, Basement Jaxx still hadn't recorded a bum note, nearly ten years after getting together. But while their third record, Kish Kash, is still miles ahead of the various formula relied upon by scores of dance producers, it isn't the same filler-free party classic as Remedy and Rooty. In fact, it reveals the duo perhaps relying too much on their own formula, the jumped-up Prince production with tech-heavy percussion and effects exploding all over the mix. Granted, Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe ably deflect most criticisms with this LP, shot through with high-profile collaborations -- nearly all of them intriguing tracks with star turns. Post-punk hero Siouxsie Sioux shows various electroclash victims just what it means to be a postmodern diva for "Cish Cash," while *NSYNC's JC Chasez is a surprising success on the beguiling "Plug It In." Teenage garage-rap sensation Dizzee Rascal turns in a fabulous outré performance on "Lucky Star," but the Indian filmi sample driving the song displays Basement Jaxx in a light they've never been in before: behind the times. And while Me'Shell NdegéOcello is a steely, assured vocalist for the propulsive "Right Here's the Spot," the final two minutes are so close to Prince the track becomes more rip-off than homage. There's really no way to make a splash with a third full-length that sticks so close to the formula, even one they helped create. Still, while Kish Kash may be the best dance record of 2003, it's the least imaginative record Basement Jaxx have ever released.

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