Man, I wish I could work once every ten years and still stomp my competition like little bugs, which is what Jeff Beck does on his first record since the early ’90s. Who Else! continues the instrumental fury of Beck’s pickless guitar assault, this time wedded to techno/electronica beats — which don’t always work as songs, but you don’t really listen to a Jeff Beck record to pick a hit. You listen to him rip your face off with a white Stratocaster, thank you very much.
And rip he does- “THX138” hums and throbs along with what you think are synths — until you realize that one of the sounds is Beck tapping the crap out of the fretboard, and then he adds some gut-churning drops and dives on top of that.
If any people long for the days of Beck the bluesman, then skip over to “Brush With the Blues” and prepare for your jaw to drop. At 6:35, you should have just about enough time to burn all your wannabe blues records before this one finishes. His tone is unmatched, and the sheer command he has over his sound is almost unequaled by any other musician. This is a man who probably practices about 23 hours a day, and knows exactly what the hell he wants to do when he picks up a guitar.
Aided by keyboardist and co-producer Tony Hymas, guitarist Jennifer Batten (the blonde who played on Michael Jackson’s last tour — thank god she found a better employer), drummer Steve Alexander and Randy Hope-Taylor on bass, this is a sonic chunk of musical mayhem led by one of music most reclusive, but ablest, guitarists. Hey Jeff — release the next one a little quicker, okay?
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