Back in the 80s house parties didn’t really get going until someone’s older brother had rolled up uninvited, taken over the stereo with a 7-inch vinyl copy of Fight For Your Right (To Party), snogged your best mate and set fire to your sofa.
It was pretty much all down to that one, ridiculous, quasi-joke single from New Jersey’s finest rhythm and rhyme masters, The Beastie Boys.
Since then the Beasties have had a wild ride through nine albums, 35 singles, mouth cancer – MCA was diagnosed with it in 2009 – saving Tibet and growing up.
Ad Rock, Mike D and MCA recently bounced back on to the scene with Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (Part One is yet to be released), accompanied by the funniest videos the internet has seen in a while. It starred a who’s who of Hollywood comedy stars revisiting Fight For Your Right to find things in B town are as raucous as ever.
Like a two-fisted punch to the head, Hot Sauce Committee sounds as fresh and wild as anything the Beasties did back in 1986. But this album is no seedy nostalgia trip. The Beasties still have something to say about the state of the world, about the state of partying, and the state of the art of rhyme. Though they’re more craftsmen than party animals these days.
The trademark fat beats, sample-tastic back tracking and metaphoric rhymes that made them stalwarts of the 80s and 90s still abound. Only now they’re filtered through an intergalactic prism made from maturity, wisdom and time. And they’re faultless, well-constructed songs with a purpose and a pulse.
From the bass throbbing jig of Lee Majors Come Again, to the summer loving reggae vibe of Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win, HSC Pt2 proves the Beastie’s can still drop bombs like a bombardier and blow us all away.
Explosions In The Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (Temporary Residence) Anyone who has watched an episode of the cracking high school football drama Friday Night Lights will be familiar with Explosions In the Sky’s moody soundscapes, their wistful and often hypnotic guitar noodling a perfect companion to the show’s wide open spaces and brooding emotions.
Put their 2006 dazzler The Earth is Not a Cold Dark Place into the car stereo and you start to think you’re driving a pick-up truck to the local Applebees, not a Corolla on the way to work.
I’ve never been a great admirer of instrumental music – I love singing along too much – but these cats from Texas have got under my skin.
Take Care . . . feels like a more patient and unpredictable beast than the earlier stuff I’ve heard, though their basic MO remains true: lots of guitars building slowly – most of the six songs are over eight minutes – into blasts of sonic fervour.
They call this sort of thing ‘‘post rock’’, I just call it the soundtrack to a triumphant day.
HIP HOP The Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee, Part Two (Capitol records)