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Junkie XL – Booming Back At You

Junkie XL - Booming Back At You

CD, Nettwerk, 2008

Twelve tracks of Atari-inspired, innuendo-ridden, four-to-the-floor dance music – simple, to-the-point and catchy as all hell. That’s “Booming Back at You” in a nutshell: Junkie XL’s latest release blasts bombastically from the speakers in an unapologetic wave of cheese, sleaze and all things red-light district.
From the excellent reinterpretation of Siouxsie and the Banshees on the cover version, “Cities in dust”, to the double-time EBM bassline (not to mention the spine-tingling builds and breaks) of “1967 poem” and the New Wave -inspired synthesizers on “Not Enough”, this is, for all its musical simplicity, a varied and interesting release. Whether played at low volume as background music or full volume club tracks, this album works well in any situation. The only criteria for successful and enjoyable playback are a good set of speakers: the mixing is a trifle heavy, tending to excessive loudness in lower registers distorting vocal tracks, so a decent rig is an absolute necessity.
Incidental sound sampling (like the telephone on “Mad Pusuit”) is kept to a minimum throughout, the focus falling on the original sounds – funky (if a bit “casio” for some tastes, as typified by “Clash” and “Stratosphere”) melodic lines, dirty granulized bass and quasi-prostitutional female vocals. The drums follow traditional common-time drum machine/808 dance conventions hailing from the 1980s, although the filtering treatments applied to these stray occasionally into slightly heavier, harder territory. The title track is a fair example of this, with heaps of gritty reverb buzzing merrily along with the backbeat.
Holistically, a bizarre blend of psychedelia, 80’s kitsch and sexual overtones, “Booming Back at You” is raw, raunchy, light-hearted and thoroughly enjoyable stuff. Shallower than a roadside puddle, slicker than greasepaint and sleazier than sin itself, this is what Techno Body Music should embody, and what Junkie XL has managed to do – in spades.


— David vander Merwe

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