Capitol, 2019


REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


Beck and Pharrell Williams headed into the studio following the completion of Beck’s tour to promote the Colors album that Williams had supported. The original idea was to have Beck contribute to a new N.E.R.D project. However, in a very short period of time, the pair ended up with a full length album of new material Hyperspace, Beck’s fourteenth album of original material – co-produced by Williams and recorded by the pair with a smattering of contributions from a handful of musicians.

This album, unlike some other recent offerings in Beck’s catalogue, is somewhat predictable. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable for what it is. The overall vibe is a throwback to the synth-pop days of the early ‘80s electronic renaissance following the death of disco. Study the album cover and you can probably guess what it will sound like. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It’s all synth-laden tracks, percussion courtesy of drum machines, and finger snaps. There are some stellar layered vocals as always, and as with anything Beck ever does, the entire record – although hastily recorded – has the sound of a man 100% committed to his craft.

The most inspired moments on Hyperspace come when everything is stripped down to the bare bones as on “See Through,” a beautiful introspective love song. “Star” is the most vintage Beck cut on the record; it wouldn’t sound out of place on Midnite Vultures. “Die Waiting” (featuring Skye Ferreira) kind of falls flat. At first, it sounds at first like it’s building towards something good, but it never does. The title track, which features Terrell Hines, fares a little better, save for the vocals, which are way overproduced for my liking.

“Uneventful Days,” “Saw Lightening,” and “Chemical” are all well crafted and pleasing to hear. Better still is the album’s closer “Everlasting Nothing,” easily the strongest cut here. It features an inspired vocal performance and some wonderful soulful backing vocals, not to mention the humble acoustic guitar, which  can be heard here as well as on the blissful sounding “Dark Places.”

I enjoyed Morning Phase and Colours upon first hearing those two, and it seems that Hyperspace is a sleeper that will grow with further listens. But for now, it’s a better-than-average Beck album that is perfect for when you’re in the mood for a little ambient electronica.

Rating: B

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