Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Beastie Boys: Hot Sauce Committee Part Two Review
There was a period of about ten years where every single party I attended someone would inevitably put on Ill Communication, Check Your Head or Paul's Boutique. These three albums were ubiquitous for so long that the Beasties were just part of the every day fabric of my existence. I can't say I ever didn't like anything they did but there was a certain point where I stopped listening and it seemed unnatural to put on a Beastie Boys record. I am happy to report that the Hot Sauce Committee Part Two may be the point where I start listening to them again.
It seems amazing that the Beastie Boys would release an album this great this far into their career. Their previous pure hip hop record To The 5 Boroughs (2004) received stellar reviews which I never really understood. It seemed like a very self-conscious album where they moved back to an old school minimalist approach rather than the more experimental records listed above. While it was ok (much of it in reaction to 9/11), it wasn't an album I wanted to return to and sounded like they had reached a point in their career where they were unsure what they were doing and were doing what they felt people expected rather than what they wanted. Hot Sauce is a return to the instrumental based grooves of Check Your Head/Ill Communication and is all the better for it. The entire set of songs sounds like the band found some deep well of inspiration and mined it for all it was worth. Any hint of the self consciousness that undermined 5 Boroughs has been dispelled and the entire record brims with invention and confidence.
To be honest, Hot Sauce is a perfectly sequenced party album with little filler and a number of high points. Imbued with swinging live drums, hot bass lines and the psychedelic 70's funk texturing of keyboardist Money Mark, this is easily their most enjoyable record since Ill Communication. It rocks with such heavy grooves that it's hard not to be excited by it - listen to Say It and try and stop that involuntary head nod. Don't Play No Game I Can't Win is a thrilling combination of a reggae/ska foundation and a stellar guest turn by Santigold. Current single Make Some Noise is impossible not to love with it's duck like synth line and rolling rhymes that recall the Beastie's at their finest.
It seems every record Beastie Boys record has an obligatory 'punk' song and on Hot Sauce it is Lee Majors Come Again. This is no Heart Attack Man (and I mean this in a positive sense). While retaining that good old punk rush, the delivery seems much more languid and assured than their previous forays into the genre. Unlike their other songs like this, Lee Majors actually sits cohesively into the album rather than being the song you fast forward. First single Too Many Rappers (featuring Nas), OK and Crazy Ass Shit are all great songs and the quality barely dips throughout the entire album (possibly Funky Donkey and the short instrumentals being the weak links).
The recent star studded short film (which the video above is taken from) has gotten the band a lot of attention but it is entirely unnecessary. There is no need for it or any bells and whistles here as this is a great hip hop record. If you ever liked the Beastie Boys I can assure you that you'll like this. Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is streaming here.