It may have taken seven years for the space cowboy and his merry band of funksters to return with some new music but the result has been worth the wait.

Presuming, of course, you already dig the group's danceable grooves.

While Automaton is fresh and funky it is, inevitably perhaps, more of the same. The wheel isn't reinvented as much as it is buffed up to a super-slick polish.

That said Jay Kay and co. do make a solid go of exploring new sonic textures and possibilities without straying too far from their particular brand of head nodding, dancefloor disco.

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As the title suggests, however, things here aren't as organic as they once were. The album has a heavy electronica influence, featuring retro synths, icy arpeggiated melodies, stompy house beats and bubbling basslines.

It sees Jamiroquai drifting into Daft Punk territory at times. The slinky, funk groove of Cloud 9, the sequenced analog synths of the title track and the retro, roller-disco of Something About You could slot into the Punk's seminal 2013 record Random Access Memories without missing a beat.

Elsewhere the loose bass-driven funk jam of Nights Out in the Jungle successfully rocks a streetwise, Sugarhill Gang beat while the 80s synths of opening track Shake it On is pure synthwave before fully giving way to some infectious funk guitar and a stomping beat which morphs the song into a Niles Rodger's style dancefloor filler in its second half.

Throughout Jay Kay is in fine voice. His vocals as smooth and cool as ever, gliding effortlessly over and fitting in around the funk of his band. Lyrically, well, let's just say that's never been a strong point and leave it at that...

Summer Girl is another highlight, an easy-breezy summertime jam, as is the album closer Carla, a Moroder style slab of cool funk-disco.

Although at 12 tracks Automaton feels a fraction too long. The six-minute plus jam of Dr Buzz doesn't vibe, the snappy Vitamin doesn't capture the urgency it's going for and the reggae-funk of We Can Do It proves that just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should.

But overall Automaton is a real good time. The grooves come at you like they're rolling off a funky production line making it damn near impossible to sit still and showing that even after all this time Jamiroquai aren't content to cruise on auto-pilot.


Automaton
(Virgin/EMI)
Verdict: The space cowboy dabbles in electronica but still keeps things funky