Jurassic 5 - Feedback
Alex Worsnip 31/07/2006
Jurassic 5 are the kind of band that you never really expect to change all that much. Their brand of happy, old-skool hip-hop (organic drums, call-and-response, handclaps, synth pianos, stabbing funky bass, you know the kind of thing) is retro if you're feeling positive, hopelessly derivative and stuck in the past if you're not. But it's undeniable that they can hit upon a catchy hook fairly consistently, and the very best ('What's Golden', 'Concrete Schoolyard') are verging on latter-day classics. 'Feedback' is an album that dabbles in self-parody; despite the departure of Cut Chemist its mainstream rhymes and untroubling party lyrics ('everybody in the house' etc etc) will sound familiar, and frankly, old, to anyone who's heard their material before.
When they do alter the formula, they're relatively successful: the minimal electro-hop of 'Radio' in particular. The highlight, however, is 'Red Hot', which is simply the most successful retreading of their old formula here, with a head-nodding use of organic guitar, bass and drums that recalls The Roots. Elsewhere they pull out passable attempts at wide-eyed soul ('End Up Like This') and Grandmaster Flash-style uptempo funk ('In The House'). But the majority of the time here they're hopelessly dull. The detestable RnB pap of 'Brown Girl', the sheeny soul-lite of 'Work It Out' (featuring that embodiment of American MOR, Dave Matthews) and the vague, soft drink commercial Latino of 'Canto De Ossanha' are particularly dire. Other than that it's all repetitive, unchallenging old-skool parody - track after track of it, with it being increasingly difficult to fathom why this kind of music is being made in 2006.