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|Beastie Boys - 'Hot Sauce Committee Part Two'|
|17-05-2011 09:21 | 1 comment(s)|
| Not so long ago, it seemed as though the Beastie Boys might end up gently gentrifying away from frontline rapping. Well into their 40s, successful beyond their teenage punk rock dreams, they had families and interests to pursue other than "rocking the house till the break of dawn" (a Beasties lyrical staple for over 20 years).
There was Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz's acting, Adam "MCA" Yauch's film work and Tibetan activism, and Michael "Mike D" Diamond's wine blog. The Beasties' last album, 2007's The Mix-Up, had been entirely instrumental, quietly winning them a Grammy. The album that preceded it was 2004's To the 5 Boroughs, an emotional response to 9/11, the Bush administration and other tyrannies. It had its moments – the single "Ch-Check it Out", chiefly – but 5 Boroughs's sombre cast could easily have marked the end of the bratty outfit who emerged in 1987 fighting for their right to party. Lest we forget, these now genteel salt'n'peppered Buddhist sympathisers once toured with a giant inflatable penis, started riots and appalled the tabloids in the late 80s.
And yet, quite unexpectedly, the Beasties are now releasing a party album that's as good as 1998's Hello Nasty. Originally scheduled for release in September 2009, the eighth album 'Hot Sauce Committee Part Two' by the New York rap crew was delayed to allow MCA to undergo treatment for a tumour to a salivary gland.
Heralded online by a typically mischievous video trailer, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two finds the Beasties on marvellously carefree form, scattering references to food, microphones, Bob Dylan, Lee Majors and other pop-cultural detritus as joyously as if the Dalai Lama had just kung fu'd the entire Chinese army in 360-degree slo-mo. "Make Some Noise" opens the album with a farty, rolling hook and the self-referential chorus of "We're gonna party for the motherfuckin' right to fight!"
To modern ears, attuned to the radically different concerns and techniques of contemporary hip-hop, the Beasties' bouncy old school sound will seem downright prehistoric. While post-gangsta hip-hop bristles with murderous intent, the Beasties continue to stage verbal MC battles like it's 1985. Released in 2009 and reworked here, "Too Many Rappers" ropes in hip-hop institution Nas to sneer paternalistically at the calibre of wordplay nowadays, like a New York summit of grumpy old men.
Roping in fans who were still in nappies when "Sabotage" was released is not, however, the order of the day here. Rocking the house till the break of dawn is. Forays into reggae and hardcore punk punctuate a tracklisting that rarely flags. "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win" finds Santigold intoning languorously over a psychedelic dub track, while "Lee Majors Come Again" revisits the band's punk roots. Even the instrumental bagatelle "Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament" justifies its inclusion by being irresistibly groovy. There is, apparently, a Hot Sauce Committee Part One waiting in the wings. You can only conclude that the Beasties' Tabasco is, once again, in full flow.
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