Saturday, July 12, 2008

Album Review - Beck

Beck – Modern Guilt
[Interscope; 08/07/2008]

You never swim in the same river twice. In Beck Hansen's case you don't, anyway. Working with more genres than you could poke a stick at, the American born artist has come a long way since the ironic statement of 'Loser'. This time the waves of diversity continue, this time with Beck drafting in producer Danger Mouse to form his latest offering, Modern Guilt.

Danger Mouse is the trump card during Modern Guilt despite Beck once again correlating a sound where boundaries simply don't apply. Although there's tinges of Mutations and Midnight Vultures simmering under Beck's latest creation ('Gamma Ray'), directly this album is miles apart from his previous works. Standout track, 'Chemtrails', is sparked with retro undertones as Beck's slow hippie-esque drawls transcend in a provocative manner.

Due to Beck's carefully chosen lyrical topics, his music continues to hold a currency. Normally, music with currency fails to present longevity, but with Beck this doesn't apply. A political undertone unravels during this 33 minute jaunt (Look no further than 'Youthless' and 'Walls'). Even the album's title speaks volume.

Apart from Sea Change (which is a personal all time favourite), Beck's music has failed to strike a chord with me. As is the case with most collage artists, sometimes you attempt to indulge but just don't 'feel it', so to speak. Modern Guilt is one of the nice surprises of 2008. The co-production with Danger Mouse has proved more than fruitful for Beck, whose ability to engage with an array of musical genres has always been undoubted. Now, though, it's not only a matter of respecting Beck as an artist but there's an added bonus of actually enjoying what he has created.

By Simon K

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