Poor Beck. No matter how many albums he writes, every one will have to measure up alongside Odelay! Modern Guilt isn’t Odelay! but it isn’t trying to be, it isn’t even trying to be Midnite Vultures. The ability to see past his prior albums is what makes Beck such an interesting artist to listen to; he knows, just like the rest of us, that he’s written great albums, and if Modern Guilt is anything to go by, he’s got a few left in him.
There are more than a few nods and namechecks on Modern Guilt; opening track Orphans could be a Jefferson Airplane cover, and Chemtrails owes more than a little to early 70’s psychedelia. There’s certainly some very Beck sounds going on, it’s not an album that anyone else could get away with and it’s an interesting listen.
Producer DangerMouse can be quite clearly heard on tracks like Walls and the electro-lite Youthless, which are begging to be remixed into indie dancefloor favourites. But it’s nothing groundbreaking, and it’s definitely nothing terribly new.
When all’s said and done, Modern Guilt is a great listen. The tracks flow nicely into one another, and there’s no difficult songs or hard-to-get-into tracks. One or two tracks, especially the title song, may well have some sticking power. The albumt is fun and interesting, but we could have hoped for better from a juggernaut like Beck.