Even though it does not contain all their singles, High Times is a delightful and comprehensive collection of singles and career highlights. The band known for its futuristic, yet retro funk\soul vibe emerged in the early 90’s as a leader in the Acid Jazz movement. A live band that sometimes incorporates electronic elements has produced some of the most versatile soul music in recent times. Even when flirting with disco, Jay Kay and company maintain a solid edge, never afraid to venture into uncharted waters.
Starting with the very first single “When You Gonna Learn”, High Times chronologically follows their career, capturing every retro-styled fun moment along the way. This album is a great place to start if you are just getting into the band, especially here in America where the only real chart success came with the single “Virtual Insanity” (it’s accompanying video was an MTV favorite at the time) from the album Traveling Without Moving. Even after losing much of the original lineup including principal collaborator, bassist Stuart Zender, leader/vocalist Jay Kay continued to consistently release solid material. For some reason they still have not been able to duplicate the commercial success of Traveling Without Moving in America.
For those familiar with the catalog the obvious highlights are here, including “Too Young to Die”, “Space Cowboy”, “Alright”, “Canned Heat” (used in the dance scene from Napoleon Dynamite), “Deeper Underground” etc. 19 tracks in all including two new cuts “Runaway” and “Radio” make up this compilation, the same songs can also be found on a DVD (sold separately) of the same name. This compilation does feel somewhat skinny without certain tracks that that would have definitely beefed it up some, being that this band has a bevy of singles, remixes and covers not found here. All the same it’s a great start as far as compilations go, hoping the next collection is a decked out box set that better represents the vast material in the vaults. So impress your friends and pick this one up, you’re gonna like what you hear and have one disco ball of a time, I guarantee it.