fri 06/12/2019

CD: Beck - Hyperspace | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Beck - Hyperspace

CD: Beck - Hyperspace

Eclectic enigma continues his late-career form with an audio odyssey

Beck with a suitably retro-future cover

Beck stands on the front cover of his new album Hyperspace with a vintage Toyota and Japanese text resplendent above. It’s the perfect scene setter for an album you could easily imagine soundtracking a midnight drive through Tokyo. Or if the lyrics are anything to go by, an intergalactic voyage. Following on from 2017’s excellent Colours, Beck has settled into a reliable late-career groove that mixes deceptively simple songwriting with intricate production. 

The best example of this is the aptly-named “Chemical”, creating sounds that wash over your synapses like a psychoactive compound. Acoustic instruments melt into synthetic sounds, bringing to mind the cosmic production of ELO’s heyday, where sound is only limited by your imagination.

It turns songs like melancholic single “Uneventful Days” or the melodic epic “Everlasting Nothing” into aural treats, best enjoyed with headphones and pulled curtains. Not that it’s a purely audiophilic album. Lead single “Saw Lightning” brings back the slide guitar of his early “Loser” days, mashed with drum machines and electronic licks. There’s also the infectious wonky groove of “Star” to wake you Hyperspace’s dreamy daze.

Not every track achieves its potential. “Die Waiting”, featuring Sky Ferreira, fails to develop past its charming start, and “See Through” pales in comparison to the R&B heavyweights it alludes to, namely Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean. 

Instead, it's the moments where Beck stretches his songwriting muscles that shine best. Listen to the way the vocals on “Stratosphere” lead the chords in unexpected directions. It’s incredibly hard to make it sound this easy.

@OwenRichards91

It's the moments where Beck stretches his songwriting muscles that shine best

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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