Local Wire


Beck Hansen's finest year was unquestionably 1994, when Los Angeles' most talented high school dropout served up three great records -- an indie-folk trawl (One Foot in the Grave); the multigenre, major-label mash-up that made his name (Mellow Gold); and a whacked, lo-fi sampler of just about every style of music known to man at the time (Stereopathetic Soulmanure). Hansen's output since, while displaying his talent, has been short on full-blown junk-dealer confection. A more wizened update of his Dr. Frankenstein-on-Mars modus operandi, Guero slays effortlessly. "Que Onda Guero" bucks like a ride home from the strawberry fields in the back of a Sanford and Son pickup full of hombres cracking wise and flinging catcalls while bizarre R2D2 ring tones whir from the bodegas they pass. "Hell Yes!" resembles a robotic "Soul Suckin' Jerk," but instead of bashing deadbeat bosses, Hansen big-ups his skills, while Christina Ricci purrs multilingual fluff, and harmonicas face off against DJ scratches. Packing more verve and personality into a single track than Sea Change's weepy entirety, Guero almost makes it possible to forgive Hansen for that improbably lauded 2002 snore. Almost.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Cummings