By Beck, 2008
4 1/2 stars
OK, Beck cruises in with a solid effort here, full of samples (sometimes it seems like he samples himself), techno beats, slurs, rhythms and sometimes post-apocalyptic lyrics. It grooves, twists, mashes, echoes and remains distinctively Beck. Some highlights (obscure reference alert) for me: “Gamma Ray” reminds me of the thrilling mid-80’s Buffalo, NY band the Celibates – funky pop grooving techno with suitably detached vocals. I love this one. “Chemtrails” has great thumping bass and vocal harmonies and treatments. Add psyched out guitar and propulsive drumming and away we go. The title track is just very cool with more techno trap drums, and electro bleeps in a very ‘80’s vein again. “Youthless” – classic Beck with techno flourishes – this would be a killer dance floor track! Following that is a real change of pace – “Walls”, a bit of dance hall style reggae/dub – think Bruce Cockburn meets Lee “Scratch” Perry and includes the aforementioned post-apocalyptic lyrics. Rounding out my favorites – “Soul of a Man” has a twisted groove that just gets inside my head. “Profanity Players” revisits the great techno/ drum laden underpinnings we once heard with Joy Division and early New Order. Well done. In short – 10 tracks – all good. Tip of the hat to producer Danger Mouse, known for his pop noir style which works well here with Beck’s multi-layered junk-pile dredging inventiveness.