JAM Magazine CD Review

March , 2014
Review by James Rowe


"Morning Phase"

Label: Capitol Records

Longevity is a word often use for musicians that have been around a few years and gained notoriety. But then appear to fade away. That is not the case with L.A.'s most famous son Beck. He came to prominence in 1996 with his album Odelay. His new LP, Morning Phase, his 12th album, Beck has taken his own route in his own way that many of his piers would not have the guts to take both commercially and stylistically.

From his 1996's Odelay LP and onward, Beck has taken us on a kind of musical time travel consisting of vibes, mixes and styles which he has brought to us out of nowhere. Morning Phase is no exception.

From humble beginnings from a self-described shed in the back alleys of L.A., Beck has gone his own way in terms of collaborations, sounds and instruments and has transcended that generations that have followed, allowing young and old to appreciate what Beck has to offer.

Born and raised in L.A. California, Bek David Campbell, has always remembered his roots. At times in his music and videos, he has made it seem like L.A. is the coolest place on earth. Even without the celebrity culture made synonymous with the city. If ever a native has captured the sound of his city of birth it's Beck.

For an artist to have such an accomplished body of work, 12 studios albums, at the age of 43 is quite remarkable. With albums involving songs ranging from Hollywood sleaze and sex, to solitude offered in copious portions, via a hillbilly re-route and reboot from time to time.

Opening chords on this album reminds fans instantly a lot of his 2002 LP Sea Change. That vibe still feels apparent on his new album as a whole. One of the tracks that stands out is "Blue Moon." A beautifully composed well sung track echoing thoughts and worries of "oh, don't leave me on my own." I think the thought provoking lyrics of "lies that will divide us both in time will leave you thinking?"

"Don't Let It Go" sounds like a mellow potential warning. Beck advises don't let them wear you out. Don't let them turn your mind inside out. Track 12 is another favorite song on this LP, "Country Down." A harmonica tinged track.

I consider overall Morning Phase to be a companion of Sea Change, that you can call upon on a lazy summer day or moments of solitude.

Beck has managed to deliver once again. Anyone not yet acquainted with his music I recommend you to delve into his archives and discover his phases from down the years and back in the day.