9 May, 2011@4:38 pm
The Beastie Boys’ eighth studio album is actually their ninth, if the legend of Hot Sauce Committee Vol. 2 is to be believed. As the story goes, Hot Sauce Committee Vol. One was to be released in September of 2010, but was delayed after Adam Yauch was diagnosed with cancer. This led to the cancellation of several tour dates, as well as of the release of Vol. One. So as it stands, Vol. One was delayed indefinitely, while Vol. Two was released “on schedule”. So now, all of the original songs recorded for part one are on part two, and the songs recorded for part two will eventually be released as part one. So that eighth LP is as mysterious and elusive as the age-old question of “who is the official fourth Beastie Boy.” [cont.]
We are well beyond the era of The Beastie Boys dropping classic albums with each release, but that’s not to say they haven’t remained consistent. It’s safe to say that 1996′s Ill Communication was their last “classic” album, while Hello Nasty and To The 5 Boroughs were both undeniably strong, despite both having their own unique sound. Hot Sauce Committee Vol. 2 is a bit of an amalgamation of all of their works, and a few new sounds as well.
No strangers to being experimental, HSCV2 finds them trying on several different styles on for size, some that fit, some that don’t. “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” sounds more like a Santigold song featuring The Beastie Boys, rather than the reverse, but works regardless. “Too Many Rappers” (feat. Nas) sounded much better in it’s original incarnation than this LP’s “New Reactionaries Version”, which is an over-produced mess. The cheesy “Funky Donkey” channels a bit of Funkadelic, of course with the Beasties’ own spin put on it, but this is something that’s run it’s course in hip-hop over the last 30 years.
Despite a few minor shortcomings, much of the rest of the LP is more or less satisfying and what you’d come to expect from a B-Boys LP. The groovy lead single “Make Some Noise” incorporates all the best parts of 90′s hip-hop and 70′s funk into a sure shot smash, while it’s follow-up “Nonstop Disco Powerpack” finds them right at home with Cold Crush delivery styles. Meanwhile, both “Say It” and “Long Burn The Fire” find them channeling their more abrasive alternative styles found on Ill Communication and Check Your Head, both with excellent results.
But while “Lee Majors Come Again” and “Multilateral Nuclear Disarment” finds them doing the requisite punk-rock and instrumental tracks, it almost seems like they are just filling out a checklist. While the band’s last six vocal albums seemed to each have a clear direction, HSCV2 comes off more like a collection of songs and styles with less of a defined sound. For what it’s worth, Sauce does have some hot moments, but in comparison to their historic catalog, it has a few mild ones as well.
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