Jamiroquai : A Funk Odyssey

Where didyou get that hat? And that bad eclectic funk?

A robot helmet here, a solid silver tribal hat there: you could argue that if

Daft Punk had released Jamiroquai‘s current single ‘Little L’ in a parallel

universe, then it would be acclaimed as sly masterpiece of Chic chic from here

to Ibiza. Luckily for the World Of Cool, nothing in this dimension can mask

the fact that ‘Little L’ remains a track on an album called ‘A Funk Odyssey’,

sung by a man who is proud that his dancing is his own unchoreographed work. All

arguments are over – except, perhaps, for the one in favour of repressive state

censorship.

Trying to work out why Jamiroquaihave held on to their impressive success is an

imaginative quest that could foil JK Rowling. If you wanted disco, you’d buy
Daft Punk; soul, you’d try D’Angelo or Bilal; dancefloor modernism, Oxide and

Neutrino or So Solid Crew would await you. And so, Jay Kay’s fifth album leaves

you with the horrible – and horribly stereotypical – suspicion that this really

is the music that connects the Future Sound Of The Company Car to Notting Hill’s

would-be urban bassmen. Like a fishhook through the lip, there are moments of

aggravating catchiness, and to Jay Kay’s credit, it’s certainly not the lazy

work of a chart potentate: every inch crawls with disco detritus and funk

dermatitis, a writhing itch of handclaps, bass runs and beats that can’t shut up

about how good it’s feeling. ‘Picture Of My Life’ and ‘Corner Of The Earth’ do

manage cheery South American stylings without sounding like Geri Halliwell’s

idea of Latino vim but ultimately ‘A Funk Odyessey’ takes you on a journey of

eye-closing triteness. For all its big funk ambitions, this is music with a

little ‘M’.

Victoria Segal

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