Release Date: Jul 15, 2016
Record label: Rhino
Jeff Beck has a few things to get off his chest and he does so quite well across the 12 pieces that comprise his first studio album in six years, Loud Hailer. A loud hailer is a portable mouthpiece, a bullhorn, the kind of thing you’d use if you wanted to say something nice and loud. Some of Beck’s best-known albums feature nary a word, so it’s amusing to think that he’d populate a late-career record with all kinds of them.
“I really wanted to make a statement about some of the nasty things I see going on in the world today,” states the 71-year-old axe-god, explaining the unifying theme behind his first album in six years. Certainly, Beck is in an uncompromising, take-no-prisoners mood, serving up a visceral collision of rock, blues and funk with the aid of singer Rosie Bones (who appears nearly all 11 tracks) and guitarist Carmen Vanderberg, both from London-based rockers Bones. The opener, The Revolution Will Be Televised, sets the tone, beginning with an aural haze of feedback from which emerges a monolithic blues riff with volcanic drums.
Arriving six years after Emotion & Commotion, a largely instrumental album that found Jeff Beck pushing at his prog boundaries, Loud Hailer is a very different beast than its predecessor. Revived by the presence of two female collaborators -- vocalist Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg, both proving to be worthy sparring partners -- Beck returns to gnarled, loud guitar rock on Loud Hailer, not so much reveling in the psychedelic skronk of the Yardbirds or the heavy stomp of the Jeff Beck Group but favoring an arena-ready rock that places an emphasis on such old-fashioned values as chops and social consciousness. The latter helps Loud Hailer feel tied to its time: Bones sings about reality television, loss of innocence, and any number of ills plaguing modern society.
First studio album in six years from the guitar supremo. It’s rare that Jeff Beck does the obvious when it comes to guest vocalists. He may be one of British rock’s most revered figures, but cosying up to bankable superstar divas clearly isn’t his thing. His last album, 2010’s Emotion & Commotion, featured the largely untested Olivia Safe, while its 2003 predecessor Jeff made room for actress Ronni Ancona and Vic Reeves’ missus, Nancy Sorrell.
Jeff Beck has earned the right to wax virtuosic on a cushioned stool at jazz fests. Instead, at 72, he's rediscovering his love of Jimi Hendrix with Bones, a young British rock duo whose better moments recall the big-beat noise of Sleigh Bells. See "Pull It," an exercise in off-the-leash, bass-drop guitar-tone nastiness that could make Jack White blush.
Jeff Beck doesn’t have a terribly high bar to clear with Loud Hailer. If the past is any indication, he’s likely going to fall into that nice groove of selling a decent amount of copies in the first couple of weeks and may even net another Grammy award for one of the album’s instrumental tracks based, potentially, on name recognition alone. And as with most artists of his age and legacy, as long as he manages to not embarrass himself dramatically, Loud Hailer will be anointed as a raging success.
“Loud Hailer,” Jeff Beck Like the Chicago blues idols he loved as a kid, Jeff Beck is still rocking into his “mature” years. Now 71, he reinvents himself on “Loud Hailer,” a surprisingly modern-sounding album written in just two weeks with singer Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg of London duo Bones. Beck remains a reigning guitar god — this year marks the 50th anniversary of the solo career he launched after leaving the Yardbirds — and the album includes breathtaking blues-based solos that stick to song structure rather than flying off in flashy experimental jazz-rock tangents.