Music | Album Review – Beck
There has been a six year gap between Beck’s latest album, Morning Phase, and his last, Modern Guilt. Such a hiatus would suggest that the singer-songwriter has been leading up to something of some magnitude, and the new album is indeed very different to its predecessor. Being hailed as the sequel to ‘Sea Change’, Beck’s acoustic album of 2002, Morning Phase fulfils this through the melancholic harmonies and the slow strums of acoustic guitar. However, the echoing, overlapping vocals and soaring strings in this latest album create an otherworldly atmosphere – presenting a significant contrast to the more up-tempo Modern Guilt, and the moodier, more restrained prequel. After a short instrumental, the album opens with the optimistic sounding ‘Morning’ and is followed by a combination of tracks that seem to blend together in a smooth, melodic spiral of multiple instruments and layered vocals. Some, such as ‘Blue Moon’, appear to build upon themselves, layering up the sounds as the track progresses. There is none of the intricate drum work of Beck’s previous releases and its almost ambient sound is easily comparable to the minimal alt-rock of the late 90s and early 2000s, such as Radiohead’s Kid A. There aren’t any tracks that could be described as anthemic – it seems unlikely that many of his new songs will enjoy the same success as Beck’s 1993 hit ‘Loser’ – but the album works well as a whole. Morning Phase is powerfully emotional whilst remaining dreamy and summery and will provide an apt soundtrack to the coming (hopefully) warmer months.