If Beck has long defied labels, his chameleonic ways leading
him from acid-soaked folk to ambitious fusions of hip-hop, synth-pop and
blue-eyed funk, Guero finds the
versatile balladeer revisiting the two-turntables-and-a-microphone style of
1996’s Odelay, with typically
assured results. Wisely, he never allows his trademark genre hopping to stand
in the way of a simple melody: “Missing” infuses smoothly seductive salsa with
lush orchestration, while “Girl” and “Rental Car” deftly mix propulsive Dust
Brothers beats with slide-guitar blues and psychedelic pop, but Beck doesn’t
stray far from the robust, hook-laden bass riffs that drive this latest effort.
By now, it’s familiar territory for a performer who rarely misses a step, even
if Guero lacks the soaring
climaxes of Midnite Vultures and
the disarming intimacy of Sea Change.