CD: Beck, Guero


Beck Hansen's last two albums were trying affairs: on both Midnite Vultures and Sea Change, he appeared to be trying on genres like fancy dress. By contrast, Guero sounds instantly Beck-like, sharing its producers, the Dust Brothers, and its freewheeling ethos with 1996's widely adored Odelay. Whether you regard this as a cynical attempt to claw back lost fans or a welcome end to Beck's airless genre exercises depends on how much you enjoy the results.

In among junkyard jams such as Hell Yes are moments of fractured tenderness, where Sea Change's lush misery bleeds through. Elsewhere, the two modes fuse into something fresh and vibrant, as with the lovelorn orchestral tropicalia of Missing.

Guero's easy, confident flow makes it easy to underrate but, despite his reputation as a slacker, Beck's biggest weakness has always been trying too hard. It's good to hear him so happy in his own clothes.


Dorian Lynskey

The GuardianTramp

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