If the band-name pun doesn't tip you off as to Jahcoozi's, um, energy, singer Sasha Perera will not leave you in the dark for long. "Skankin barefoot be a global movement," she coos on "Barefoot Dub," Barefoot Wanderer's first track, "gotta find a place for a barefoot temple." You won't need the remaining 10 tracks to figure out that this temple's location is not far from Black Rock City. Apart from the Modeselektor-y globs of party bass arranged by Robot Koch and Oren Gerlitz, this Berlin trio stands out on Ellen Allien's label for their self-aware, global eclecticism.
The Sri Lankan Perera has been perhaps unfairly compared to M.I.A. A more accurate comparison might be made with Brazilian Girls' Sabina Sciubba, whose wordplay and upfront sensuality are clearly influences on the band's persona. The vibe's not quite right, though. Sonically rich, the songs still seem to struggle for reasons to exist, grasping at (surprise) lame puns to buoy limp jams like "Lost in the Bass" or emptily preaching to the nonconformist choir on "Read the Books." Jahcoozi only connects with the help of former Antipop Consortium member M. Sayyid on "Powerdown Blackout," which sells its silliness by owning up to it.
The problem on Barefoot Wanderer is trying to re-start a party or bring back a conversation that was never a great idea in the first place—that Jahcoozi must be filled with lentils and Veuve Clicquot. It's not that the singing and production style are heading in different directions, but that the former's predictability doesn't encourage us to listen more closely. Self-satisfaction isn't a good look with half-baked multiculturalism; there's burner appeal here, and little else.