Maxi Jazz And The E-Type Boys – Simple.. Not Easy
CD / DL
9 September 2016
8.75 / 10
Buddhist rapper and former Faithless member releases a new album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
After twenty years fronting Faithless, arguably one of the most successful and influential electro dance acts of modern times, Maxi Jazz has marked his return with sounds from his roots. Gone are the pulsating hooks once occasioned by Sister Bliss and gone are the masterful multi rhymes that accompanied them. Instead Maxi immerses himself in a superb blend of blues, soul and jazz (no pun intended) with the occasional nod towards reggae and authentic R&B along the way.
With Simple… Not Easy the brilliant E-Type Boys breeze through ten tracks all sounding like classic covers and all executed with a clinical professionalism that really needs to be heard to be believed. The treatment pf Faithless favourite Mass Destruction for instance is a master stroke with a gorgeous reggae beat and horns which add a while new angle to the track, will appeal to older fans as well as prompting a wry smile from the new.
Album opener Change Our Destiny sets out the intention immediately. Its dramatic bass, piano and horns act as a monumental prelude to a track which sounds like one of those classic film or TV themes. It shows not only that Jazz is a songwriter of quite unequivocal quality but also has a strong ear for an infectious tune.
Known for his clever rhyming couplets lie after line after line with Faithless, he now constructs more regular verses and choruses as though it’s something that he has done for a lifetime. Simple… Not Easy is slick in the extreme. Back To The Bottle is a gritty sounding rock standard that you’re sure you’ve heard before and recent single Bitter Love with its deep bass in a country rock style works brilliantly with the occasional reverb. Guitars whine and drums roll against a chorus which is hard to forget.
A surprising direction for Maxi Jazz perhaps, but one in which he seems very comfortable and is entirely successful.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.