Basement Jaxx

Following a series of EPs in the mid-Nineties, British producers Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe tried to insert a spirit of inventiveness into an ailing house music scene with Basement Jaxx's 1999 debut full-length, Remedy, a refinement of raw materials like soulful New York salsa-house mined from both sides of the Atlantic. But it wasn't until their bracing sophomore album, 2001's Rooty, that they truly seemed to be smelting their own signature compound, a rampaging riddim built out of two-step, Chic, and Prince.

Kish Kash, though, is the album Rooty was expected to be -- rending apart familiar 4/4 beats, rowdily slapping percussive abrasions against one another. "Good Luck" pulls a melody from the Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go" to pull off a stomping kiss-off. "Lucky Star," featuring the U.K.'s garridge MC of the moment, Dizzee Rascal, is a bulbous cattle call meant to herd people to the dance floor. "Plug It In," featuring JC Chasez, is the sonic descendant of Rooty's "Where's Your Head At" with its gritty distended synths and rousing chorus. Siouxsie Sioux wails through the fuzzy, rampaging raveup of "Cish Cash." Kish Kash shows Basement Jaxx is very much about the hear and now, presenting collaborations and conventions in an increasingly human, song-oriented framework that could rest on the vocalists' laurels but instead challenges them to meet the producers' manic inspiration.

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Tony Ware