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Classic Album Review: Jeff Beck | Jeff

After dipping his toes into electronica, the guitar god leaps in — with mixed results.


This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Well, it’s official: Jeff Beck has finally run out of album titles. That’s not a big deal. What’s more worrisome is that on Jeff, the third album in his most recent comeback, the guitar god seems to be running out of ideas. Or perhaps enthusiasm.

After dipping his toe into the waters of electronica on 1999’s Who Else!, and then going in for a wade on the 2001 sequel You Had It Coming, this 13-cut entity sees Beck taking the big plunge and immersing himself wholly into the cut-and-paste soundscapes of producer Andy Wright. As the beatboxes thwack, the synths squiggle and the loops and samples trigger away repetitively, Beck keeps his head above water by carving out giant slabs of dinosaur-howl riffs to support his burbling licks, fluid leads and still jaw-droppingly pyrotechnic solos. Sometimes it all adds up to something nifty and new, like on the electro-surf slide-blues mutation of Hot Rod Honeymoon. Other times, it just sounds like a bunch of techno-noodling that starts off OK but goes on long after it’s made its point. Mostly though, it just sounds like more of the same that we heard two years ago. For a guy as supremely talented as Beck — and as notoriously restless — this is the most worrisome aspect of all.


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