Alone from Junior Jack's Album - Trust it
Dancefloors that have been without a Daft Punk record for the past three years should welcome Junior Jack's debut, an album that shares the Punk's love of booming groove. Daft Punk is a decent comparison for Junior Jack's low end, but when it comes to lyrics and melody he's more straightforward, less spacy, and more Armand Van Helden. "Da Hype" is the simple and satisfying highlight, both in its original mix and the vocal mix featuring the Cure's Robert Smith. That Smith's afterthought vocals don't feel tacked on at all is a big surprise on an album that sounds like it could go cliché any minute. Junior Jack's beats are nothing new, but rock-solid enough to keep the nearly innovation-free album in the CD player. Surrounding "Da Hype" with the proven floor-fillers "Stupidisco," "E Samba," and "Thrill Me" means Trust It could be one of the few albums to suffer from too many singles. Plenty of interludes and a couple quirky tracks help deepen the album for the headphones, the jazzy "Alone" being the highlight. That track makes you hungry for more of this emotional Junior Jack, but when he starts dealing in heavy house music again, it's easy to forgive the slick album's shortcomings. More dance artists could stand to suffer from this "too many monstrous anthems" problem. It's got a good beat and you can dance to it — what more do you want? ~
Vito Lucente, the DJ/producer who is the sleek house unit Junior Jack, was born in Italy but has lived in Brussels ever since his parents moved there when he was a teen. His first productions appeared in the '90s under the names Mr. Jack, Kaf 'é, and Hugh K. Lucente debuted his Junior Jack moniker in 2000 with the My Feeling single on the Play It Again Sam label. Thrill Me from 2002 and a residency at London's Ministry of Sound with partner Kid Crème put Junior Jack on the map. Soon artists like Bob Sinclair and Moby were hiring Lucente for remix work, and 2003 found Junior Jack's "Make Luv" and "E-Samba" getting massive spins in the clubs, while the In the House label dropped the Junior Jack and Kid Crème mix CD In the House. Nettwerk released Junior Jack's debut full-length of his own productions, Trust It, in 2004, while its single, Da Hype with guest vocalist Robert Smith from the Cure, was climbing dance charts across the globe.
Sources: David Jeffries, Rovi
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.
Source: Jack Smith
- Deep House