Previewed by "Twerk" -- their booty-disco, "Maniac"-quoting team-up with Yo Majesty -- plus the uplifting perfection of the five-star track "Raindrops" -- sung by member Felix Buxton with Auto-Tune on the assist -- Scars is an obvious return-to-form effort for Basement Jaxx, reigning in the big conceptual ambition displayed on Crazy Itch Radio for better or worse. Getting back to everyday business sounds like sweet relief on tracks like the good-timing "Twerk," and while this is the lunk-headed party theme you'd expect from such a pairing, two of the other marquee-worthy collaborations far exceed expectations. First up is the hot-stepping, Santigold cut "Saga," which suggests that a shared love of the Clash and the Specials was discussed ahead of time. More stunning is the Yoko Ono team-up "Day of the Sunflowers (We March On)" which takes a "Walking on Thin Ice" strategy, supporting Yoko Ono's stark poetry reading with a razor sharp, no wave dance track. The wistful "My Turn" with Lightspeed Champion is like that grand, danceable dreamer that shows up towards the end of the best Pet Shop Boys albums, leaving only the Amp Fiddler effort, "A Possibility," up for debate, since adding new, rather average lyrics to Santo & Johnny's classic instrumental "Sleepwalk" seems an unispired move from this innovative crew. Still, it hardly breaks the album, and there's nothing here you could write off as true filler, but that perfect flow that made their masterpieces so thrilling is missing, plus the increased number of doubtful or regretful numbers referenced by the album's title seems to come from a totally different song cycle than the busy, rump-shaking stunners. Even if this is a bumpier ride than expected, Scars is a worthwhile throwback to the freak attitude that kicked off their career over a decade earlier. Anyone excited by the idea will find plenty to love.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries