With his fifth album, A Funk Odyssey, Jay Kay and his minions (old and new) faithfully recreate ’70s disco-funk as if it were cool. Only this time, with the recent success of fellow Euro acts like Daft Punk and Stardust, it is cool, which makes Odyssey a bit less relevant but fun all the same. The album’s first single, “Little L,” and “Love Foolosophy” (which all but samples “Music Sounds Better With You” by song’s end) are pure nü-disco. “L” is steeped in retro “Billie Jean” beats and disco synth-strings, lamenting a fading, lowercase love: “You make me love you with a little L.” “Feel So Good” and the angsty bass-driven “Twenty Zero One” shrink the über-analog gap between Jamiroquai and its French counterparts while “Main View” departs on a full-steam freight train en route to 1978 New York. The biggest deviation from the formula, however, is the Latin-flavored “Corner of the Earth,” which features dreamy backing vox that purr by like a warm Caribbean breeze. (Its cinematic arrangement of strings and horns should start the Hollywood suits a-knockin’.) Like its predecessors, Odyssey mixes self-samplage with Jamiroquai’s now-signature robo-funk, but the sticatto synths of tracks like “Main View” are more “The Price Is Right” than Gorgio Moroder; or, maybe, that’s just what it sounds like to ears reared in the digital age.
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