album review for the skinnyBeck - Modern Guilt (***)
Commonly painted as the archetypal alt-alchemist, instinctively fusing disparate styles together like an improvising chef, Beck's eighth major studio album Modern Guilt finds him occupying a fully cohesive sound of his own, free from obvious recurring stylistic markers like DJ scratches or folky guitar strums. With Danger Mouse on production duties, Modern Guilt is at its best when the rhythm is allowed to dominate, such as the epically sprawling drum-track of first single Chemtrails, the hollow drum slams ricocheting over a chipmunk aria on Walls [the chipmunk is apparently Cat Power], and Replica's rusting drill'n'bass jerks. On sumptuous album closer Volcano, typically enhanced by the rattling trapped-insect rhythm, Beck languidly laments: “I’m tired of people who only want to be pleased”. Well I’m not pleased, Beck, but only because the 33 minutes-short Modern Guilt leaves me hungry for more of this marvellous meal.
In hindsight 'marvellous' was perhaps a bit of an overstated conclusion (as was 'meal' when it is more of an ample snack); and I should've realised that given that it was a comfortable 3 stars.