Beck’s much anticipated 13th album follows the lush and melancholic Morning Phase and though Colors is equally lush, it’s an album built on widescreen technicolor, bold sonic brushstrokes and a saturated pop aesthetic.
On first listen it feels like the quirks and eccentricities that made Beck so iconic are absent on this album but dig below the pop-laminated surface and you’ll find an equally audacious approach to song-craft.
Beck dials in funk, hip hop and psychedelia, exquisitely blending rock guitars and low slung beats in a clever collision of synthetic and organic musicality. ‘No Distraction’ is a standout with its clipped funk and snaking vocal melodies. Like many of these songs he operates in areas of structural cliche – build-ups and anthemic choruses – but it’s all done with an auteur’s ear and sleight of hand that belies the complexities at play.
Old school Beck fans will enjoy the collage-constructed ‘Wow’ but the overwhelming focus of Colors is Beck’s continuing exploration of the frontiers of pop music, like a 21st century Steely Dan.