With a distance of seven years since their last album, Jamiroquai recently unveiled the lead-off single “Automaton” from their forthcoming album of the same name, signaling the long-anticipated return of the acclaimed group to the popular music stage. A tense, nervous, electrified dance-funk number, “Automaton” seeks to reclaim the pocket between classic and post-modern disco that had been usurped by latter-day Pharrell and Daft Punk in the group's absence—a space pioneered by Jamiroquai.
“Cloud 9,” the second single from Automaton, is relaxed, soulful and breezy. The antithesis of “Automaton,” it lacks the first single's immediacy and impact. It does, however, fall in line with other smooth, midtempo shufflers that the outfit has trademarked too. Jason Kay, the sole remaining original member, founder and frontman, is charming as ever on “Cloud 9,” his voice ageless.
If “Automaton” promised listeners a return to the innovative glory days of A Funk Odyssey (2001), “Cloud 9” is a pleasant, if perfunctory, Jamiroquai anachronism that wouldn't have been out of place on Rock Dust Light Star (2010). It will be up to the individual listener to determine if this satisfies or disappoints him or her.
Stream “Cloud 9” below.
UPDATE (2/23/17): Watch the just released companion video for "Cloud 9" below.