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Beck Mutations
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cdcover

He's been called the torch bearer for a new generation of stars and the '90's performer most imbued with the finest qualities of the legends of the past, but enough about Bobby Skinstad. This is Beck, the young musician who has had that similar, glaring spotlight focused on him since 'Loser' crept off his debut album 'Mellow Gold'; and this is his new album, the chronological but not logical successor to his 1996 double-platinum and widely loved 'Odelay' that's coming next, apparently. These 13 songs were born during the tour to promote 'Odelay' but are nothing close to that album's mixture of breakbeats and irony-laced funky tunes.

For 'Mutations', Beck dumped one of his "two turntables" and got retro with his '60s vinyl rock classics on the other. The result is a laid-back, trippy collection of (country) rock songs. All original and perfect in their own way yet so drenched in obvious '60s references that one must either accept and adore these 13 songs on their own merits or get caught up in Beck's spot-the-influences mind games. Either way, 'Mutations' (there's a clue) is a fascinating and fun-filled album that should take a decade or two to date.

'Cold Brains' is Bowie interpreting 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' and 'Nobody's Fault But My Own' adds washes of '60's sitars to these mournful and reflective lyrics.  'Cancelled Check' is pure country with twanging slide guitars and harmonicas while 'We Live Again' is just another beautiful pop song from Beck's seemingly endless source. 'Tropicalia' is not the frothy highpoint from Elvis' little-known samba movie, 'Cheeseburgers In Rio", but could've been! 'Dead Melodies', 'Bottle Of Blues' and 'O Maria' find Beck entertaining in that old western saloon again, except 'O Maria' sounds suspiciously like Dylan's 'Ballad Of A Thin Man'. Now there's a big clue ("there's something happening here and WE don't know what it is."); possibly Beck is just telling us that there's really no point in being too analytical. Sometimes you've got to just lie back and ear-joy it!

Stephen "Sugar" Segerman 8/10

others in the REVIEWS

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Lots of SA CDs to buy online at One World.

There's also the Two Oceans Trading online shopping mall where you can purchase Springbok rugby merchandising, SA books, jewellery and CD-ROMs, amongst many other items.

Any thoughts, requests, problems, complaints, praise or interesting and relevant SA music news, please email it immediately to: sugar@cd.co.za

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