To call Basement Jaxx the best dance-pop group on the planet is to damn Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe with faint praise. The truth is that no one else has even attempted a rapprochement of house's groove and pop's devotion to the Song without descending headfirst into that special circle of Hell that Dante reserved for Euro-pop. Basement Jaxx, on the other hand, manage to inject hardcore, trainspottery dance music with girly pop fizz and heartache without ever sacrificing swing or the willingness to sample Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers.
Basement Jaxx's achievement is all the more impressive considering that they started off crafting very tasteful but uninspiring Brazilian house like “Samba Magic.” When they threw off the shackles of genre and mashed up ragga, UK garage, punk energy and most crucially R&B on 1997's still breathtaking “Fly Life,” Basement Jaxx truly hit their stride. Although their records have become less fabulously noisy (with the possible exception of “Jump N'Shout”) and more polished, Basement Jaxx's willingness to play with textures, styles and sound within the parameters of traditional song form is one of the true glories of contemporary pop.