Since single-handedly popularizing the ironic mustache back in the mid-nineties, The Beastie Boys seem to have become more known for their hoary old frat boy antics than for their legitimate reign as white rap revolutionaries. Granted, the early years were not without their own brand of odd ball shenanigans, but between the matching jumpsuits, guest spots on Futurama, and all round Spike Jonze orchestrated silliness, the punch lines often out shine the tunes these days. So when I heard about The Mix Up, The Beastie Boys' latest all instrumental album, I thought "oh great, what kind of over the top, sesame street hooliganism are we in for this time?" The latest punch line? These big apple boobs might finally have renewed their license to ill.
Chilled out and wonderfully concise, The Mix Up is a collection of group jams that play upon the pimped out 70's funk of Blaxploitation flicks and old Quincy Jones compositions, without (thankfully) treading too heavily into the retro dead zone. Brimming with dubbed out bass runs, fuzzy psych guitar mayhem, and a whole host of experimental percussion, it is a perfect summer antidote to their tepid and by the numbers To the 5 Boroughs which caused little else than a massive yawn to infect most of the critical mass media.
Accentuated by a hazy production that allows you to really "hear the room," The Beasties seem determined to prove that they still have the chops to play their own instruments, giving us a rare window into their already mythic recording processes, wherein they develop samples and rhythms through jamming. A smart move considering, being a rap group that played their own music was what made them so interestingly punk rock in the first place.
So check your head and step "Off the Grid" to watch their latest video right here.
Review by: Chris Webster
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"Off the Grid"