If you so much as walked past a club in the last 12 months you will have heard one of...
Jack Smith 2004
Junior Jack - real name Vito Lucente has been making a funky racket under various guises such as Kafe, Hugh K and Mr. Jack for several years. His brand of beefy basslines and chunky house grooves finding favour a while ago with Erick Morillo, Mousse T and Robbie Rivera amongst others.
His first major hit as Junior Jack was last year's "Thrill Me", an addictive and abrasive tune that got him lazily labelled as a house-punk sensation. This was recently capitalised on with "E Samba", a Brazilian-influenced mega-anthem that kicked dancefloor ass from Brighton to Brooklyn all summer long last year.
These two last tunes have created quite a buzz around the release of Lucente's debut JJ LP, Trust It - an album that promises to quickly eradicate any notion of Mr. Lucente as an electro-clash bandwagon-jumper, or indeed as a suave purveyor of Latino grooves.
As the LP unfurls through Da Hype (which carries on where Daft Punk's "Da Funk" left off), "Stupidisco" (a thin-synth 80s homage) and the melodic brassy sheen of "The Roots", what we learn is that Jack is simply a man very comfortable at the studio controls, a man effortlessly capable of blending his myriad influences into a highly workable house music format.
The second half of the LP takes a few interesting turns. After the reasonable allure of "Alone" (featuring a jazzy guitar lick that for once doesn't sound like a cheap Ronny Jordan rip off), there's the skippety cheese-chug of "Luv 2 You" and then a deep plunge into some unexpected (and much welcomed) heaviness.
Alongside "Thrill Me", there's the wonderfully spasmodic cut n paste job "Do It" and then "Depression", which rides the most menacing bassline on the album fast towards the rave horizon and beyond. The inclusion in and around these and the other album tracks of recorded street sounds, sirens, vocal interludes and radio interference help give the LP an extra narrative sequence and intimacy.
Some optimist's are likening Junior Jack to a new Basement Jaxx. With all due respect, he simply isn't that original. He does have a way with a rocking tune though and his production touches the slickness of the beats, the whirling vortexes of the synths, the elasticity of the basslines make for an accomplished and versatile LP.