Beck - Modern Guilt - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Beck - Modern Guilt

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

If there’s one thing that’s proved consistent about Beck Hansen, it’s that every fresh record will be a curveball, and so it is with Modern Guilt. If 2006’s The Information felt like a return to familiar Odelay territory, a gleaming beats-and-raps record with an eerie futuristic twist perhaps inspired by its maker’s interest in Scientology, its follow-up feels like a step out again into uncharted territory. Recorded with the help of hip-hop beat-maker turned multi-talented producer Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton, Modern Guilt is a foggy, sometimes distant-sounding affair apparently inspired by canyon-dwelling psychedelic rock, conspiracy theories, and end-of-the-world angst. "You and me hit by a test of white evil/Watching the jet planes go by", he strains, urgently, on "Chemtrails", eyes fixed to the sky. "Orphans" and "Walls", two songs recorded with Cat Power’s Chan Marshall feel like a bit of a missed opportunity, Chan’s vocals pushed too far back in the mix. But Danger Mouse’s beats are a delight, giving what could be quite morose numbers like "Gamma Ray" a skippy, vintage beat group feel. All in all, it’s not Beck at his most engaging or playful, but there’s a thoughtful, mature quality to Modern Guilt that you don’t find when he’s playing postmodern prankster, and it’s got much to recommend it. --Louis Pattison

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