Beck re­vis­its past on ‘Colors’

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - SPOTLIGHT - By Greg Kot

Beck was sup­posed to be a one-hit won­der, but more than two decades after “Loser,” he re­mains an artist to be reck­oned with. His pre­vi­ous re­lease, “Morn­ing Phase,” even earned him his first al­bum of the year Grammy in 2015.

But if you have the sneak­ing feel­ing that some­how you’ve al­ready heard his re­cent al­bums, it’s be­cause you have. With “Colors” (Capi­tol), his 13th al­bum, Beck con­tin­ues to move for­ward by min­ing his past. Just as “My Morn­ing Phase” re­vis­ited the melan­choly tone and tex­ture of his su­pe­rior 2002 re­lease “Sea Change,” “Colors” dives back into the genre hop­scotch of play­ful ’90s re­leases such as “Ode­lay” and “Mid­nite Vul­tures.” Though both of the more re­cent al­bums are per­fectly ac­com­plished, they’re more about stu­dio craft than in­ven­tive­ness.

The high­light of the down­beat “Morn­ing Phase” was the ex­quis­ite string ar­range­ments by Beck’s fa­ther, David Camp­bell. On “Colors,” the star is the im­pec­ca­ble stu­dio genre-mix­ing en­gi­neered by Beck and multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist Greg Kurstin, a for­mer Beck tour key­boardist who has worked with artists such as Adele and Katy Perry. Kurstin and Beck co-wrote most of the songs and played most of the in­stru­ments — a lit­tle two-man band that put a pre­mium on melodies and snappy hooks.

As its name im­plies, “Colors” is all about sur­faces and a kalei­do­scopic range of mu­si­cal styles: There’s a lit­tle bit of new wave, psychedelia, elec­tron­ica, off-kil­ter rap­ping that echoes “Ode­lay,” and plenty of plas­tic soul sung in falsetto a la “Mid­nite Vul­tures.”

CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION

As its name im­plies, Beck’s new al­bum, “Colors,” is all about sur­faces and a kalei­do­scope of mu­si­cal styles.

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