SummaryBeck's sixth major-label album is a stunning return to the anything-goes format of 1996's ODELAY. Standing in sharp contrast to its predecessor--the quiet, somber SEA CHANGE--2005's GUERO is the sound of the Los Angeles singer/songwriter cutting loose and getting back to the slacker funk that won him legions of fans in the 1990s.
"E-Pro" kicks off the festivities with a heavy guitar riff and a Beastie Boys-sampled beat, while "Que Onda Guero" revels in a sunny Latin vibe, with Beck rapping (surprisingly well) in Spanish. However, this outing also offers up MUTATIONS-worthy melodic pop, particularly on "Girl," a brilliantly catchy tune carried along by acoustic guitar, handclaps, and lush vocal harmonies. Beck's reunion with sound sculptors Mike Simpson and John King (the Dust Brothers) breathes plenty of life into these tracks, including the heavily percussive "Black Tambourine" and the '70s-inspired "Earthquake Weather." Jack White (of the famously bass-less White Stripes) lends a bluesy bass line to "Go It Alone," while many of Beck's longtime musicians (guitarist Smokey Hormel, bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen) turn up throughout the record. An album that features Beck energetically jumping back into his renowned cut-and-paste aesthetic, GUERO is sure to please longtime fans, and may win over young listeners who thought that he was primarily a sad-sack folkie.