Jamiroquai – “Automaton” review

A little over 6 years after releasing their previous album Rock Dust Light Star, legendary British funk/acid jazz band Jamiroquai is finally returning out of the blue with their 8th album. The album starts off with “Shake It On”, where the band’s frontman Jay Kay is singing about “being a freak tonight” over a decent Daft Punk inspired instrumental. The title track is about the titular character “putting his faith in a digital world” & while I do like the “Virtual Insanity” throwback on here as well as the rapped-bridge, the production once again sounds very Daft Punk inspired. The following track “Cloud 9” sees Jay beautifully singing about how happy he is about getting out of a bad relationship & the beat on here is infectiously funky. The track “Superfresh” is about Jay wanting to dance with a “superfresh lady” all night & the funky disco instrumental is fitting as well. The song “Hot Property” brags about how smoking hot this female dancer is & it comes off pretty redundant. Plus, the bridge that starts off with a woman speaking Spanish was just WAY too over the top for me. The next track “Something About You” is said to be a personal reflection on a relationship that didn’t work out & the instrumental is pretty catchy as Well. The track “Summer Girl” talks about Jay’s desires to bring the titular character into his world the instrumental on here is some vintage disco. The song “Nights Out in the Jungle” vividly talks about being drunk in the rough part of a city & the instrumental sounds reminiscent to something from a 70’s blaxploitation film. The concept of “Dr. Buzz” is understandable considering all the bullshit going on right now & the sax solo near the end of the track definitely makes up for it considering how much I love Jamiroquai’s 90’s output. The song “We Can Do It” sees Jay convincing this girl to make their relationship work & the penultimate track “Vitamin” seems to follow that up by him telling her that he wants to “get through it”. I’d say the instrumental on “Vitamin” is superior to the one on “We Can Do It”, mainly because of how high-tempo it is. The album closes out with “Carla”, which is a heartfelt dedication to Jay’s daughter with the same name over a house/funk fused beat. While I wouldn’t recommend this as the go-to album for those who’re new to the Jamiroquai catalogue, I’d still say this was worth waiting 7 years for. There are some parts where I hear auto-tune in Jay Kay’s voice & it kinda bugs me because his vocals have always sounded fantastic without them. As for the instrumentals, they kinda take me back to the band’s A Funky Odyssey days. Despite a few flaws, this is a solid return for one of my all-time favorite bands

Score: 3.5/5

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