Another thread in the broadcloth of England’s uselessly named acid-jazz scene, Jamiroquai, like the considerably more diverse Brand New Heavies, play music saturated in the soul sounds of the 70s. Considered a major act by the press in their homeland, the retro-baked group have yet to make much of a dent stateside, and it’s doubtful that their latest and finest effort, The Return of the Space Cowboy (Work), will do much to change the situation. While most of the bands arriving under the dubious acid-jazz banner incorporate hip-hop rhythms, abundant sampling, and casual cross-genre borrowing, this combo doesn’t bother adding contemporary elements. Led by singer and primary songwriter Jason Kay, they cling to a sound that crosses Innervisions-era Stevie Wonder with the extended funk jams of Sly Stone. For the most part their music is drenched in the warm undulations of Fender-Rhodes electric piano and fluid, fusionoid bass lines fitted neatly within propulsive rhythms. While a tune like “The Kids” provides a manic hyperfunked assault that would have been unthinkable prepunk, more often than not Jamiroquai stick with comfortable mid-tempo grooves, heightening their unabashed 70s links. Nowhere near the pioneers hype-happy British weeklies make them out to be, Jamiroquai nevertheless pull off a credible and extremely energetic flashback. Sunday, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Eddie Monsoon.