Another take on The Beastie Boys’ new album, this review comes from Crawdaddy!, April 29th, and written by David MacFadden-Elliott…
A couple summers back, Beastie Boy Mike D told music blog Drowned in Sound that Hot Sauce Committee Part Two would be released in “more of a 2009 style.” “You could get in the shower one day and, boom, all of a sudden you’re showered with mp3s.” After a lengthy delay due to Adam Yauch’s ongoing battle with cancer, and the possible shelving of Hot Sauce Committee Part One, the Beasties’ morning assault was finally unleashed.
On Saturday, April 23rd, at approximately 10:35am, EST, a Sasquatch wandered onto the brightly lit floor at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and pressed play on a gold-plated boombox. Hot Sauce Committee Part Two poured out, echoed through the cavernous Garden, and was sucked through microphones, siphoned through Livestream.com, and finally delivered to the 4,000-plus fans that had glued themselves to their computers.
It was clear immediately: This was the album fans have been waiting for. The overly serious, sonically boring To The Five Boroughs (2004) and musically rich but lyric-free The Mix-Up (2007) are left behind. Instead, the Boys revisit a more carefree time, when live jams were sampled and rearranged, emcees rapped through “bullshit mic[s] made out of plastic,” and having fun was okay.
The mood is light from the jump, when on lead track “Make Some Noise”, Ad-Rock raps, “Back on the mic is the anti-depresser.” Mike D, slips in, “sipping coffee, playing Keno in the casino.” And Yauch suggests that the listener “must have drank a fizzy lifting drink.”
That’s a promising start, and the playful lyrics are abundant, or as Ad-Rock puts it on “Crazy Ass Shit”, “The dooty rhyme thing, well we got it on lock.” On “Long Burn the Fire” they drop similes like a pump-and-dump scheme: “My style is iller than the goblins in Troll 2″; “Bonafide household name like Sergio Tacchini”; “Running wild like rats in the Taco Bell.” (All three lines are worth researching on YouTube.) Yauch steals the funniest moments on the album, “accidentally” blabbing a “Make Some Noise” chorus a measure too early, and twice ignoring conventional wisdom and brazenly pronouncing the “w” in the word “sword,” for example: “Pass me the sward.”
“Nonstop Disco Powerpack” sees Mike D and Adam Yauch synching up on crisp drums and fat, double-stopped bass lines, respectively. And Ad-Rock’s electro, BS-2000-style production crops up throughout the record, most notably on the hyper-kinetic “OK.”
The styles don’t stop. When Santigold stops by for “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win”, the boys take a turn for the skanky, with dub bass pushing the thing forward. The jam “Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament” just grooves, makes maybe one chord change, but is infectious enough to stand up to their best instrumental work. On “Lee Majors Come Again”, the Boys rap their way through a lengthy hardcore number. And the original title track, “Tadlock’s Glasses”, is drowned in effects, and does, indeed, make you feel like you’ve been drinking fizzy lifting drinks in the O-scope lab.
Mix Master Mike, who has helmed the decks for the Beasties since 1998, is notably absent. There is surprisingly little scratching, and the cuts that do come through, though simple and effective, are more Terminator X than Skratch Pickl — nothing that a moonlighting DJ Ad-Rock or MCA couldn’t handle.
The album also sounds nearly sample free, though the liner notes point to a bevy of sourced recordings: Obscure sounds like the Brutus soundtrack, the work of Chip Welson, and Pretty Ron and the Love Boat Crew, among many others.
If you haven’t heard of those records, either you’re not a serious crate digger or they are all made-up. The credit to Irv Greenshaw’s Journeys, Oscillations, and Other Dreams is likely a tip that Oscilloscope Labs’ Nathanial Hörnblowér, aka Adam Yauch, did some creative writing on the sleeve.
Hey, if it makes the music sound this good, keep the jokes coming.