Beck has long defied labels, his chameleonic ways leading him from acid-soaked folk to ambitious fusions of hip hop, synth-pop, and blue-eyed funk. Guero finds the versatile balladeer revisiting the two-turntables-and-a-microphone style of 1996's Odelay, with typically assured results. Wisely, he never allows his trademark genre-hopping to stand in the way of a simple melody: "Missing" infuses smoothly seductive salsa with lush orchestration, while "Girl" and "Rental Car" mix propulsive Dust Brothers-produced beats with slide-guitar blues and psychedelic pop, though the proceedings never stray too far from the robust, hook-laden bass riffs that are almost a Beck trademark. By now it's familiar territory for a performer who rarely misses a step, even if Guero lacks the soaring climaxes of '99's Midnite Vultures and the disarming intimacy of '02's Sea Change.
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