Beck's music has always been characterised by the effortless fusion of diverse musical genres, while still retaining an unmistakeable Beck blueprint. Having wowed all and sundry with his masterpiece Odelay, and then hinted at a more introspective side with Mutations, Midnite Vultures sees Beck slipping into a lurid purple catsuit and getting all dirty funky on our asses.
From the joyous horn ejaculation of single 'Sexx Laws' right through to the gorgeous tongue-in-cheek Prince pastiche of 'Debra', Beck is having a lot of fun and it's difficult not to get carried away by it all. Between these two beauties we're treated to electro, rock, folk, funk and hip-hop. In particular, the standout 'Hollywood Freaks' is utterly, utterly fantastic and very funny. He's got groove in his heart.
Some may question Beck's authenticity, wondering whether he puts any of himself into the music: it's easy to feel insecure when listening to this record, uncertain whether you've been reeled in by some bad joke. Beck does tend to come across at times like some clever spoilt brat. He's smart and mischievous, smashing up post-modern culture into spiky and difficult pieces before deftly rebuilding them into beautiful and complex musical shapes. He speaks a strange language, is simultaneously happy and sad, knows who he is yet constantly toys with his identity, and wears so many colours that they eventually become back and white. And this time the black and white reads 'Genius at Work'. Get down or get out.