Junto (Atlantic Jaxx/PIAS)
Basement Jaxx started making electronic music before it was cool to make electronic music. So you can't entirely blame them for coming out of hibernation to cash in on what's become a popular trend. The duo of Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe at least don't just mash together some big bass and drum beats on this new studio release. They're one of the more adept production teams out there and this, their seventh studio album, is evidence of their talent. "Power to the People" features soulful vocals and funky synthesizer riffs. The album title is Spanish for "together" and that title suggests the guys are feeling good about their relationship to the world. A feeling of optimism runs through bouncy tunes such as "Never Say Never" and "We Are Not Alone." "What's the News" brings out the funky side of the band and sounds like it could be a Michael Jackson and/or Prince tune. It's a bit of a cheat to include vocals on the tracks, but these songs are so well produced, they'd sound great even without the accompaniment of singers.