Modern Guilt

By Jason W. EckardStaff Writer

“Modern Guilt” is a departure from previous Beck records in a few ways. Its sound is much more spacious and much more devious. Its subject matter is turning towards that of a world at its end; sounds of wind can almost be heard from the space left open on this effort. If anything, in part due to the production of Brian Burton aka DJ Dangermouse, whom past production efforts definitely aim towards the minimal. The single “Chemtrails” begins with a ghostly organ but kicks into a blistering drum solo during the chorus, showing that as much as the album may enjoy sparseness, it isn’t afraid wake you up with the rock alarm clock. “Modern Guilt” strips beck of a lot of safety measures, the beepy-boopy irony of singles like “Timebomb” are nowhere to be found. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact it shows the resounding darkness that has always managed to follow Beck’s music, regardless of how upbeat it has seemingly been. Dangermouse is famous for this characteristic when it comes to his productions, from the latest Gnarls Barkley album to my favorite, Damon Albarn’s led “The Good, The Bad and the Queen.” Getting rid of the superficial and the BS and getting to the naked artist seems to be the logical next step for Beck. If anything Beck appears to have been waiting for someone to strip it down for quite some time. And closing, Modern Guilt reflects a very direct climate. One of people waiting on the unknown, with the sun going behind the trees and the sounds from the forests getting louder, Beck/Burton channel the fact that tomorrow seems to be more unknown then ever before.