Verdict: 3.5 / 5
With their 7th album release, and the first in 5 years, Bassment Jaxx should be welcomed back with open arms to their rightful position amongst the upper royalty of Electronica-Dance music. And although Junto is particularly groundbreaking or innovative, it sure is a lot of fun. Which is just fine, in my opinion.
While Zephyr, the groups previous album from 2009, was a toned back, darker experiment, Junto is more airy and fresh, celebrating the passionate, energetic side of Dance music. The album also features a wide array of world music influences, such as an African edge on “Buffalo” and a smooth flamenco-Latin flavor on “Mermaid of Salinas.” The closer of the album, “Love is at Your Side” has, of all things, the feeling of a Country-Western track. This array of sounds does give the album a nice, expansive feeling that makes the entire listening sound like a trip around the world.
Junto is not particularly innovative, which is only a crime in that the band has always been historically pushing the envelope and moving dance music forward as a medium. So the only real criticism that could be made on this album is that it is playing it safe for once. However, it doesn’t make it a bad album, and in recent years, many other dance groups have been moving forward the genre, and so, I think it is only fair that Bassment Jaxx get to enjoy themselves and have a little fun for a while. Junto is certainly an album that can be a lot of fun, and many of these tracks will doubtless be heard around clubs and parties for the next few years. Bassment Jaxx through experience definitely know what they’re doing, and this is a polished, capable album for a wide array of listeners to enjoy.