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Directional unpredictability

Jamiroquai - Dynamite
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Mar. 20, 2006

Review by Andy Argyrakis

A dozen years have passed incredibly quickly in the lives of dance directors Jamiroquai considering its string of CD releases, movie soundtrack slots (such as "Napoleon Dynamite") and constant club rotation. While the British band's rotating incarnation (currently consisting of Jay Kay and Mike Spencer) has often found more acclaim in its homeland, the buzz has been rebuilding in America thanks to a fall tour that marked the group's first outing in six years. The pair's latest set Dynamite comes on the heels of 20 million albums sold worldwide, loaded with similar funk, R&B, jazz and rock explosions that cross the lines of Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz, Curtis Mayfield and elements of Underworld thrown in for extra measure.

The title cut is undeniably the disc's most infectious, adapting a soulful 70s flavor that could fit right alongside "Shaft" on the charts, but with much greater sophistication and innovation. It's follow-up "Seven Days In Sunny June" strips down the gang's sound a notch, relaying on cheerful keyboards and carefree acoustic guitars to conjure up the summery vibe the title implies. Disco returns with all its devious excess on "Electric Mistress," while grinding guitars weave their way into "Black Devil Car." The lead single "Feels Just Like It Should" continues the balance between old school and current concoctions, recalling the early days Philly funk thrown through computer trickery.

Of course the best way to listen to Jamiroquai is on the dance floor and the disc obliges on several occasions. "(Don't) Give Hate a Chance" is sure to tear up the clubs regardless of the attendee demographic, which despite a title that could be misconstrued if read too quickly, seeks out unity and peace amongst different cultures. Though the politically bent "World That He Wants" is likely to ruffle some feathers, the most left and right winged could still find themselves abandoning dividing lines and mellowing out to its chilled psychedelic piano lines. Such a steady stream of directional unpredictability is exactly what gives this album its consistent charm, which regardless of the pacing or song speed, still unravels with Dynamite from beginning to end.

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