Despite the fact that he hasn’t really been away, the word “comeback” is likely to be waived around in the vicinity of Mr Hansen’s latest release since his entire recorded oeuvre has been a series of quiet and not so quiet mutations and the only constant we have come to expect from the leaf blower king is change.
What’s fresh in this summery new disc is the contribution of producer de jour Danger Mouse, who bends Beck’s wayward lyrical muse (reader’s will glad to hear he still “lives in a tree”) into skittering D&B shapes, Beta Band/Brian Wilsonesque lush studio pop and steel guitar riffs. A “homage to 1960s British pop, along with Beck’s signature futuristic flair�”, as the press release will have it.
At not much over thirty minutes, Modern Guilt doesn’t have time to outstay its welcome. Chemtrails raids Beatles hooks and Byrds harmonies with Californian abandon and chucks in a surprising handful of analogue blips and squelches, before heading off in another Dirty South hairpin back to the Kinks-do-Surf-Pop from whence it came. Fans of Outkast will most certainly approve.
The whole affair chugs along in a charming Gnarls of Berkley groove and the dangerous one performs his neat trick, of dragging trip hop moves (the orchestral arrangement, the backsliding beat) through the entirely guilt free sugar of the hit factory’s conveyor belt and firmly into the realm of Up. The only downside is that every song seems to end suddenly.
Steal it while its still hot and play it in the park. Beck’s Modern Guilt is released July 8th on Interscope.
2. Gamma Ray
4. Modern Guilt
7. Replica 8. Soul Of A Man
9. Profanity Prayers