Picks and Pans Review: Travelling Without Moving
Ever since this British quintet's 1993 debut made them pop stars in Europe, critics there have accused them of treading dangerously close to Stevie Wonder terrain. That probably had more to do with frontman Jay Kay's soaring soundalike tenor than with the retro group's jazzy bell-bottomed funk, but Jamiroquai's third disc contains some unabashedly Wonder-ful music. The guys crank out the sort of intricate yet freewheeling tunes that were Wonder's specialty during his creative heyday.
While remaining true to Jamiroquai's anything-goes acid jazz vision, Travelling finds the band moving in new directions. The title song rumbles with the tribal rhythm of house music, while "Drifting Along" does just that with a lilting reggae shuffle. No longer rambling on and on in the name of improv and spontaneity, Jamiroquai have packed this disc with their most concise confections to date—the band even resists getting carried away by the rapturous groove of Travelling's most kinetic cuts. Mind-tripping rump-shakers like "Cosmic Girl" and "Use the Force" wrap up in all of four minutes and actually leave you wanting more. (Work)
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