Old-school Beck fans rejoice - The Information
finds Beck Hansen in goofy mood for the first time since Midnite Vultures
, chucking out inspired wisecracks and surrealist couplets like the sombre, acoustic-tinged moods of 2002's Sea Change
never happened. Produced by sometime Beck collaborator Nigel Godrich, last seen working on Thom Yorke's The Eraser
, The Information
is a strange mix of bluesy Americana rootsiness, wonky hip-hop beats and cosmic synthesiser, all wound together in accordance with Beck's fried, futuristic, utterly individual vision.
Most importantly, it's enjoyable and instantly accessible. The opening "Elevator Music" recalls the free-wheeling spirit of "Where It's At", all rolling beats, clacking Tropicalia scraper and distant melodica, while the excellent "Cellphone's Dead" imagines "Voodoo curses, Bible tongues/Voices coming from the mangled lungs" atop a track that veers between squelchy hip hop and Screamadelica
-style acoustic strum. And sure, it gets weird see the broiling, funky cyberpunk narrative "1000 BPM" ("Telemarketing people with cellular headsets on their skulls/Selling you wisdom from a plexiglass prism,") or the 12-minute finale "Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton", which ends with a hushed conversation about travelling into space, possibly born of Beck's membership of Hollywood celeb-religion Scientology but the out-there moments bookend some of Beck's finest, funnest material in years. If you lost him for a bit there, now's time to tune back in. --Louis Pattison