Some bands – despite seeming to fade out after a few albums – garner a strong legacy and cult following nonetheless. Jamiroquai are such a band. They had a string of hit singles and albums in the 90s and early 00s, but subsequent releases were less ground-breaking.
So rather than release an underwhelming single off the back of another top 10 album, they simply toured and re-released the classics. In a similar way to Super Furry Animals last year – and to varying degrees Stone Roses (the wait was longer and the song was shit, but you get the point) – the elongated wait has been worth it. They’re back with a banger. And a new hat.
Automaton is deliciously Daft Punk inspired, oozing with electro beats and sounds, but still holds that essential Jamiroquai funk. The opening stutters and starts before Jay Kay’s distinctive voice brings the song to life in the chorus.
The song’s lyrical content could easily be lifted from a Daft Punk track, after all they are the kings of techno. They’re obsessed with the digital world, and from the sounds of it, now Jamiroquai are. Addressing technology and cyber works, the constant repetition of ‘I’m automaton’ holds no attempt to wrap this song up in a riddle.
Everything about this song works. The disjointed rhythm in the verses sets the song up to rise, before the song breaks down at the bridge as Kay’s irrepressible coolness and spoken words take centre stage, whilst replicating some of the nostalgic synths found in Travelling Without Moving et al.
Automaton is different, there’s no doubt about that. It takes Jamiroquai in a new direction, and from the sounds of it, the upcoming album of the same name will not get stale anytime soon.