Pop Albums: Jamiroquai Travelling Without Moving Sony 483999-9

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The Independent Culture
Take away the hat, the Lamborghini and the media profile and you're left with a new role for Nicholas Lyndhurst in a sitcom about an amiable Trustafarian nitwit on a mission to explain the obvious to a weary world. Sid James would play the landlord who rolls his eyeballs downstairs in the parlour. Posh mum would be Penelope Keith, who wore a kaftan and slept with Status Quo in the Sixties. And Reg Varney would take the part of local councillor on the make. Things all start to go wrong one morning when Jay Kay (Lyndhurst) wakes up and remembers he has to make another album for the Sony Corporation and, uh-oh, his bedside notebook of social and ecological iniquities has gone missing. Oh well, nothing for it but to make an album about the metaphysics of having a good time. And that's when the fun really starts...

Travelling Without Moving is not without its fair share of laughs. Indeed, "Cosmic Girl" is actually meant to be funny. For the most part, though, the album is a continuation of previous efforts, with less sixth-form hectoring and more goofing around. The band is really very proficient now at the Seventies Afro-American groove, and Jay himself is showing signs of growing emotional width (depth comes later). Having said that, "Drifting Along" is feeble reggae of the sort the Police used to do with a shake, a twist and an olive, and there are no less than two funky didgeridoo instrumentals, which sit less than comfortably next to an in-car recording of Jay at the wheel of his Diablo SE30, complete with gear-snicks and cammy Italianate wail. As our philosopher-prince observes in "Use the Force": "I must believe I'm a rocketman/ I'm a superstar, I can be anyone/ I can step beyond all of my boundaries." You know already whether you want this record.