While bygone celluloid heroes such as Shaft once gave Harlem-based mob villains cause to lament (Bumpy, we hardly knew ye), the atmospherics heard on opening track "Chocochip" resurrect the same playful but hot-buttered soul of Isaac Hayes's salad days. Sparing the revolutionary rhetoric -- or any vocal input save a few Sinatra-esque utterances of "doo doo doo" -- the fourth and funkiest Beastie Boy again lets his spacey, textured and monolithic grooves speak for themselves: from blatant party funk ("Information Contraband") to sparse trap set/organ duet ("Love Undisputed"). A twangy, double-stringed Cuban treis gives "Another Day to Love You" unmistakable mambo flavor, while the exotic Los Lobos spice up the slinky, breezy "Pepe y Irene." "Caught Without a Race" finds the half-Japanese/half-Mexican artist (born Mark Ramos-Nishita) scooting through the ethnic strata -- confused about which flag he's supposed to wave -- but banging on pots and pans all the same. "People's Party (Red Alert)," meanwhile, conjures the horn-driven and staggering tribal funk of War.
Smooth as cognac from start to finish, Change departs from 1998's eclectic and lo-fi offering Push the Button with fully digital, state-of-the-art enhancement, sharper hooks and broader appeal. Maybe Money does change everything.