Of course, no instrument inspires more lust and awe in the boomer generation than the guitar. And no one expresses its potency more masterfully than Jeff Beck. His latest album, Loud Hailer, houses some of the most disruptive work of his 50-year career. While Beck’s last album flitted from R&B songs to classical covers of Puccini and Britten, here he rocks out from start to finish. The title doubles as a term for megaphone which, here, Beck uses to broadcast his political views. That’s something we’ve never heard from him before. Beck paints in broad strokes, taking on common bug-a-boos—reality shows, technology, terrorism, consumerism, impulsiveness and greed. To rap/sing his lyrical protests, Beck hired Rosie Bones, who delivers every word with the most sarcastic possible Cockney sneer. Tellingly, the set kicks off with the original track The Revolution Will Be Televised, which plays off the title of Gil-Scott Heron’s classic ’70s protest. The result might have veered into didacticism. But Beck translates his outrage from words to highly individualized, and uncommonly fiery, riffs and licks.
The star sets his guitar on stun nearly from start to the finish, pulling out solos that sear right through you. You’ll feel gored listening to his work inThugs Club, while in Pull It his axe turns into a buzz saw, slashing everything in its path. In The Ballad Of The Jersey Wives, Beck thumps through a doom-metal riff that would make early Black Sabbath envious, while O.I.L could school The Red Hot Chili Peppers on how hard funk-rock should hit. Along the way, Beck does allow for some softer textures, showcasing his most shimmering fingerings in Shame. Overall, however, ‘Loud Hailer’ presents Beck as a polymath of aggression, finding nuance amid mad dives and growls. It’s a master class in guitar expression—which may be just what it takes to remind the solo-phobic world of the instrument’s undying power.
Source: Music Aficionado.