Jamiroquai – Automaton
Release: 31st March 2017
Label: Virgin EMI
Producers: Jay Kay, Matt Johnson
Singles: Automaton, Cloud 9
Everybody’s favourite acid jazz group are back! After a seven year lapse in output, Jamiroquai, of course fronted by the infamous Jay Kay, return with their eighth studio album Automaton. All things Jamiroquai have been near-silent since the release of 2010’s Rock Dust Light Star, and when news of a return first began hitting the rumour mill, expectations were high. Unfortunately, these expectations were dented slightly with the release of the unlistenable mess that was the lead single, and title track of Automaton.
Automaton kicks off proceedings with a Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde-esque clash of stylings. Opening track Shake It On would turn out to be an accurate barometer of the level of conflict between the jazzy roots Jamiroquai are famous for, and a techno channeled attempt at french house. Torn between what’s made the band what they are, and trying a new sound, Automaton begins with conflict and contrast, and continues on in much the same way. Summer Girl recalls the yesteryears of Jamiroquai, as does supporting single Cloud 9, but these blips are only temporary, with the latter ruptured by the directionless Superfresh. A song with a number of eye-rolling ‘rock me baby all night long’s.
Jamiroquai’s branch out into electronica isn’t the monumental shift in sound anybody was hoping for. And what makes the album all the more difficult to adjust to, are the flickering moments of Jamiroquai’s trademark sound, microseconds of brass or glimmers of riffs that gesture and coax you into a false sense of security. Cloaked in notes of Daft Punk or Justice, flat and uninspiring production, and lacking in that convincing, confident departure in sound, Automaton is more than anything, a forgettable, and unfortunately not even an admirable attempt at reinvention.
Verdict – WV