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No Problem
Jamaica No Problem
Released 20 August 2010

Xavier de Rosnay,
Peter Franco
Label V2 / Coop
Length 36:02
Genre Electronic
Website jamaicanoproblem.fm

Let’s be honest, France may not have the best international profile. They are regularly lampooned on The Simpsons (including Groundskeeper Willy referring to them as “cheese eating surrender monkeys”) and let’s not even start on ‘The Hand of Gaul’. One area where they can seem to do no wrong is dance music. Starting with trailblazers Air and Daft Punk in the mid '90s or Phoenix and Justice in more recent times, France has produced some of the coolest electronic bands around. Jamaica are the next to try their hand with their debut album No Problem.

Jamaica are clearly well aware of the work done by their predecessors in becoming global and have enlisted both Xavier de Rosnay (Justice) and Peter Franco (Daft Punk’s sound engineer) to produce. The result, not surprisingly, is a polished effort blending live guitar and bass with drum tracks in a nice mix of rock and dance. The offshoot of this is that No Problem ends up sounding a bit too much like Justice doing a rock album.

The album begins promisingly, the stop start rhythm of 'Cross the Fader' moves into the extremely catchy but ultimately shallow 'I Think I Like U 2'. Both songs show a nice potential for this being a fun album which is almost confirmed with the two highlights; 'Secrets' and 'Jericho', the latter of which seems to owe a lot to Justice with its dreamy synths and quasi-religious title. It’s all nice and upbeat without being in your face.

From here it all takes a rather boring turn for the worse. The songs begin to blend into each other, with little differentiation from one track to the next; it’s the same mildly distorted guitar and programmed beats throughout. I must stress these are not bad songs per se, but I think track 8’s title- 'By The Numbers', sums up my feelings on the second half of the album perfectly.

In the end No Problem feels like an appropriate title. There is nothing wrong with this album it has some nice tracks on it but it just lacks the inventiveness of their fellow countrymen. It’s a competent debut but one that stays within ideas already explored by Daft Punk, Justice and Phoenix. Perhaps I am being too harsh but in a genre that defines itself by constantly changing sounds No Problem feels almost formulaic. I suspect that Jamaica may have afforded de Rosnay and Franco too much control of their sound losing their own identity in the mix. Now that they’ve been shown the ropes, my hope would be that their follow up is self produced showing exactly what they are capable of.

- Brian Kinsella