Beck is back, and his new album ‘Guero’ is the best since … well, his last one. Suffice to say that Beck Hansen has always produced quality records, ‘Guero’ is no exception.
However, from an artist noted for frequent musical mutations (pun intended), ‘Guero’ seems surprisingly reminiscent of his past work.
It’s not so much that ‘Guero’ is a reiteration of any one album from Beck’s extensive back catalogue; it just sounds a bit like an amalgam of all the musical styles in which he has dabbled in the past. Fortunately, the old adage ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ proves true here.
‘Midnite Vultures’ is one of ‘Guero’s’ closest ancestors, and Beck incorporates an electro-funk flavor that was absent from his previous album, ‘Sea Change.’
But the more obvious forebear is Beck’s 1996 masterwork, ‘Odelay.’ (In fact, ‘E-Pro,’ the album’s first single, sounds strikingly similar to ‘Devil’s Haircut’ to my ears.)
As on ‘Odelay,’ Beck brings in famed producers The Dust Brothers, probably best remembered as the masterminds behind the Beastie Boys’ 1989 album ‘Paul’s Boutique’ (one of the greatest early examples of the art of sampling).
They work the same type of magic here, incorporating sounds running the gamut from weird to weirder.
‘Hell Yes’ prominently features Christina Ricci saying ‘Please enjoy,’ ‘I like your bass,’ and ‘Your beat is nice,’ in a vaguely sexual manner.