The New York punk/rap legends return with some tepid funk instrumentals. Cheers guys...
Chris Jones 2007-06-22
We all love the Beastie Boys don’t we? We love their frat boy shouty antics around the wheels of steel. We love their goofy vids and their adherence to worthy causes and global consciousness. We even like their garage punk side. What we don’t like is their lazy lounge funk cheese that peppered Ill Communication or Check Your Head. So why on earth have they given us a whole album of this instrumental mush?
The Mix-Up is filled with jams (and I do mean JAMS) that go nowhere and were probably much more fun to play than they are to listen to. It’s obvious the ‘boys’ (all now 40-something) had a great deal of giggles laying this stuff down. Hammond organ-driven funkathons mix it up with dub-like grooves that meander but never really get anywhere. The sounds used are always intriguing: a track like ‘’14th St Break’’ with its nods to psychedelia will sound absolutely fine as a background to your summer barbeque.
But that’s the problem, they’re nothing more than background noise. Before you know it the album’s over and you‘ve forgotten anything that happened. To top this the playing is, at times, (maybe deliberately, it’s hard to tell) so hamfisted as to even remove it from anyone’s list of reliable workouts to put on while the DJ grabs a bathroom break (stand up Mike D on the drums).
Like the music, the titles (‘’The Cousin Of Death’’, ‘’The Kangaroo Rat’’, ‘’Freaky Hijiki‘’) reek of private stoner humour. Come to think of it, that probably explains the ‘far out’ use of reverb and wiggly effects all over this album as well. Never has there been a better argument for NOT legalising it. All this is a terrible shame of course, especially at a time when the world is filled with bands who wouldn’t even exist but for these guys and also when their last album was such a return to form. Next time lads, bring the noise but leave behind the rolling papers…