It's hard to figure out what's more delicious, the idea of Junkie XL being the flagship artist of Artwerk -- the label launched by video game giant Electronic Arts -- or the shameless cover of "Cities in Dust" included on Booming Back at You, the dance producer's debut for the label. The latter takes Siouxsie and the Banshees' goth rock tale of ancient Pompeii residents being smothered in lava and turns it into a whip-cracking floor-filler with a booming drumbeat and vocalist Lauren Rocket replacing Siouxsie's ironic "my friend" with a kick-ass "yeah!" If that sounds dreadful, you probably won't like the other highlight with Rocket, "More," where the singer rallies all hedonists with "Rock more/Roll more/Fuck more/Pac-Man is loving it." Musically, Junkie is as reliable and unoriginal as a video game music composer should be, as he skillfully brings a world where big beat never died into the modern age where the revivalist electro of Benny Benassi and such reigns supreme. Exciting Fatboy Slim-inspired floor-fillers rule and are rounded out by a couple of quirky numbers like the weirdo noir "Mad Pursuit" and "Zage," which sounds like Kraftwerk's gear misfiring. Add "No Way" -- which playfully acknowledges Junkie's video game forefathers with some classic Namco-styled tones -- and that's it for stunners, with the rest of the album fading into a background suitable for caffeine-fueled LAN parties or clubs where chic and tacky coexist. Not enough to raise him above "the guy who remixed Elvis" and no great disappointment either.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
feat: Steve Aoki