Album: Basement Jaxx <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Crazy Itch Radio, XL
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The Independent Culture

With 2003's Kish Kash, it seemed as if Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton were trying to broaden their outlook, spicing up their grooves with Arabic, flamenco and Cossack flavours and samples from blues and gospel sources. As Crazy Itch Radio opens, it seems as if they're upping the ante even further, with an absurd operatic intro that mercifully peaks and disappears within a minute. But despite the uptempo "banjo-house" stomper "Take Me Back to Your House" - a first cousin of sorts to Rednex's "Cotton Eye Joe" - and the Balkan polka-flavoured accordion and clarinet trills around which "Hey U" revolves, this album represents something of a retrenchment, a return of sorts to Basement Jaxx's core values of party beats and catchy hooks. On tracks like "Hush Boy", when vocalist Vula Malinga rhymes "chicken fajita" with "margarita", the results agreeably recall Was (Not Was) around the time of Are You Okay?: sharp, funny, literate dance-pop with all the elements slotting into a pleasing polyrhythmic whole, the individual songs fronted by a range of in-house and guest singers, including the 1970s sweet soul icon Linda Lewis on the swirling "Lights Go Down".

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Hush Boy", "Hey U", "Take Me Back to Your House"

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