Album review: Jeff Beck - Loud Hailer
PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 July 2016
A rough-’n’ready rallying cry from the eight-time Grammy-winner and his new besties.
WEBHEADThe guitar legend’s first studio output for six years came about after he encountered the enchanting vocals of Rosie Bones and guitar-playing chops of Carmen Vandenberg while at a birthday party for Queen drummer Roger Taylor last year.
It wasn’t long before the core trio were sat in front of a fire with a crate of prosecco, furiously writing this politically and sonically weighty opus.
Fleshed out with a drummer and bassist, Beck’s group pack a punch with Bones taking the mantle of frontwoman, her lightly husky delivery injecting indignant passion into portraits of corruption, wealth, selfishness and the vacuousness of modern life.
The Revolution Will Be Televised and Live In The Dark match the tone of the subject matter, with loping, industrial rhythms and plenty of space for screeching, emotive guitar workouts.
To its credit, it never feels self-indulgent and keeps a devilish pop-rock edge.
Scared For The Children is the first with a serious political message, a baleful ballad casting its unflattering gaze on selfish, tech-obsessed Western world that barely bats an eye as the natural world around withers and apocalypse beckons.
Set to a slow pace and pining high-register guitars, it’s a breather from the surrounding guitar heat.
Picking up the baton, Right Now apes Rage Against The Machine riffage while Bones spits that we “don’t know what we want but we want it right now”.
Demonstrating their versatility, Shame frames Bones’ lovely, expressive vocals in a soul-club, girl-group ballad, with Beck’s guitar noodling woven like a golden thread through familiar but reassuring tropes.
Beck matches Bones with his guitarmanship, never lapsing into self-indulgence (the sole instrumental worth a mention, Pull It, is a simplistic shot of industrial rock) and the band remain punchy and engaging.
Except for the springy guitar, barely-masked innuendo and quick-fire lyricism of O.I.L. (Can’t Get Enough Of That Sticky), which comes across like a pre-tweens Christina Aguilera, and no-one needs that in their lives.
The album’s tied up with pretty, glowing and plangent guitar on Shrine, an uplifting if slightly schmaltzy coda to counterbalance Loud Hailer’s doom and gloom.
Rating: 4/5 stars
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