Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Jeff Beck 18: Loud Hailer

While his is the only name on the cover, spine, and label, Loud Hailer is more of a collaboration than a Jeff Beck album. The vocals and guitar riffs come respectively from Rosie Bones and Carmen Vandenberg of Bones UK, whose producer gets credit here as well. The album is something of a maturation of the electronica experiments from the turn of the century, in that it’s still very processed, but production techniques have caught up so it doesn’t sound totally robotic.
Beyond the mild abrasion throughout, personal enjoyment will likely depend on one’s tolerance of Rosie’s vocals, which lean heavily on an affected cockney approach. Her lyrics mostly focus on social commentary, as shown in such titles as “The Revolution Will Be Televised” and “Scared For The Children”. The soulful “Shame” is a highlight, mostly because she sings more than poses—kudos also for the key change at the end. “Thugs Club” rumbles along until we hit a sly rhythmic echo of “Beck’s Bolero”, and “O.I.L. (Can’t Get Enough Of That Sticky)” is a funky JB’s homage. The closing “Shrine” is the best melding of Rosie’s voice and his guitar. That said, Vandenberg is an accomplished guitarist, and often dominates the tracks; two instrumentals—the slow-burning “Pull It Up” and “Edna”, which is a mere prelude to “The Ballad Of The Jersey Wives”—keep the focus on Beck.
The Bones UK folks have since gone their way, so maybe Loud Hailer was as far as this collaboration could go. It’s still worth a listen.

Jeff Beck Loud Hailer (2016)—3

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