Beck

Modern Guilt
DGC Records

Danger Mouse is arguably the most adventurous producer to tackle a Beck project since the Dust Brothers helped birth a 1996 baby called Odelay (the Dusters' return for 2004's Güero doesn't count). The resulting sound is satisfyingly dense and intricate; the neo-surfisms of "Gamma Ray," the delicate psychedelia of "Chemtrails" and the juxtaposition of chamber pop and drum-and-bass on "Walls" are particularly noteworthy. But despite its unusual touches, the recording gives off a somewhat musty scent. The production tends to overshadow the compositions, and the recording as a whole feels pretty slight — the running time tops out shy of 34 minutes. Besides, it's mighty difficult to re-establish one's avant-garde credentials by looking backward a dozen years — because the cutting edge has moved since then.

 
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