label: sony music
our score: 3.0 out of 5.0
Isn't he dead?
may have thought so, but the name that means the same to the younger
generations as Hendrix, Cohen and Dylan is back to ply his now-outdated
trade to modern-day students. The new album, Who Else is
his first collection of new material in a decade, which is quite
a mammoth event for him in a career that stretches back over 35
years. To go for ten years without gracing his fans with something
new must have been a real downer for them, but notheless, here
he is, large as life, complete with all his guitar solo's, variety
of styles and monotonous riffs.
is neither a soundtrack, nor a side project, the promotional blurb
promises us. "It is a fully realised collection of eleven new
guitar instrumentals, its styles and influences ranging from techno
to blues to traditional Irish music. In each and every setting,
Jeff's playing demonstrates his absolute technical and total emotional
conviction." As on so many other occasions, the promo literature
is only half true.
doubt the glorious creative ability Beck must hold in his fingertips
to turn out track after track that sounds so unlike the ones that
have played before. On each of the eleven instrumentals on Who
Else, he does bring surprise after surprise and deliver a
musical quality that has to be respected. "What Mamma Said"
mixes heavy rock with Fatboy
Slim style edits and dance rythms, "Declan" is as
peaceful and serene as an Enya single, and "Brush With The
Blues" is exactly what it suggests.
But for all
this variety, this Jeff Beck effort is hardly the spice of life.
Indeed, the diverse nature of the album is what tackles it by
its legs and brings it crashing to the ground. His moods are up
and down like a bride's nightie, and it leaves the listener more
than a little bewildered as to what exactly it is that he wants
to create here. While there will be tracks that everybody can
find enjoyable, there will also be a fair few that you will want
to skip over as well. That is where it falls down - at the hurdle
called consistancy. And there is always something else that appears
to missing from the album. What can it be? Ah, yes... vocals.
Come on, let's keep the genre of instrumentals to the likes of
Richard Claderman, Pan Pipes collections and other things to listen
to when we're dead.