Beck - Guero - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Beck - Guero

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Guero marks Beck Hansen's highly anticipated return to his partnership with the Dust Brothers, and the sound captured distinguishes this as the spiritual follow-up to Odelay. Guero is a lovingly crafted soundscape with few lulls and many peaks. High points include the opening one-two of "E-Pro" and "Guero", both of which are insidiously catchy and smartly humorous; "Black Tambourine", which sounds like a miniature reinvention of the Stone Roses' classic "Fools Gold"; "Hell Yes", in which Beck, armed with vocoder, returns as a great wielder of irony, taking potshots at hedonism; and the dustbowl rootsy blues of "Scarecrow" and "Farewell Ride", adverts for the neglected genre that are strong enough to make a next generation pick up harmonicas and slip on cowboy boots.

As with Odelay, Guero's instrumentation and sonic textures are always changing. Everything is here--from string sections, celeste and organ (courtesy of guest keyboardist Money Mark) through 12-string and slide guitars, bass from Jack White, a good dose of colourful samples, and programmed blips and bleeps that recall Midnite Vultures' best moments.

Beck is a true master of pastiche, but Guero isn't eclectic merely for the sake of it--instead, it's a constantly surprising, ever-revolving creation that looks at Beck's multiple talents through an entertaining kaleidoscope and which, backed by the Dust Brothers' formidable production, is damn groovy. In sum, Guero is what Beck's admirers have waited so long to hear: "Odelay 2". Where Beck will go from here is anyone's guess. --Jonathan Davies

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