Groups that have put out excellent music in the past aren't only competing with other current discs when they unleash a new album. They're also going up against themselves — and by that measure, The Mix-Up falls way short.
Admittedly, the Beasties didn't set out to issue another Ill Communication. Their latest features twelve funky yet decidedly low-key instrumentals — and the likes of "Electric Worm" are generally pleasant. Still, Mix-Up isn't a casual goof the Boys put on their website as a freebie download or fan-club special. It's their first significant release since 2004's To the 5 Boroughs. And if all they could come up with in the three years since then is mildly enjoyable filler, these guys are either out of fresh ideas or overloaded with pre-owned ones.
A generally positive review on AllMusic. com calls this CD "a good, rewarding path for the Beastie Boys as they approach middle age" — a double-edged compliment if ever there was one. Better that they grow old disgracefully than fight for the right to be innocuous.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.