First things first. The Mix-Up
sounds nothing like any other Beastie Boys album - it's an all-instrumental affair that mixes rock and soul, with very few hints of hip-hop at all. Why they made this record we'll have to wait and see, I suspect.
I must be honest, my impression of the Beastie Boys these days is as in 'Futurama', where they appear hundreds of years in the future as heads in jars, still doing the same old thing.
Perhaps The Mix-Up
is an attempt to shake that image? The album's creative, of that there's no doubt, yet whilst these musical backdrops may be fine for movies, they frustratingly remain more like background music rather than anything to particularly hold your attention.
Some people will instantly dismiss all instrumental LPs such as this, but as I've been listening to a lot of sixties instrumental LPs of late I can see the Beastie Boys put some effort into this one, and created a lot of interesting backgrounds.
That's it though, backgrounds. There is little innovation, no new sounds, although nearly everything here would've been hailed as new if only they'd been rapping over the top of it. If that were the case, we'd perhaps be hailing this as inventive.
Still, there's a few welcome dub tracks here, as if the guys had been listening to King Tubby - let's hope so, some of that creativity might rub off on them.
But I'm not going to try and describe these tracks - they all fall into movie-type music, into dubby, slightly jazzy modern territory. They aren't rock, rap, or soul, certainly not pop. And so the question is raised, who apart from rabid Beastie Boys fans is this album aimed at? Nothing here is bad you understand, yet equally nothing stands out. Rated:
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews