Album Review – Jeff Beck – Loud Hailer

I’ve been a pretty big fan of Jeff Beck from at least the Truth album onwards. (Had to go back to hear him in The Yardbirds). I haven’t liked or bought everything he ever did but I stay in touch with what he’s up to periodically.

He just released a new album – Loud Hailer – and I figured I’d give it a spin. Here’s the pro – his guitar playing is as creative, vital, soulful and energetic as ever. The styles go from melodious to anarchic (Tom Morello would be proud) to bluesy from song to song.

But then here’s where I have mixed feelings. He’s teamed up with a guitar/vocal duo from the UK named Bones. As always, I give him credit for working with younger artists to keep his edge. (Carlos Santana does this too with, for me, hit or miss results. Don’t even get me started on Paul McCartney and Kanye West.)

And so my problem with this album is that I find the singer, Rosie Bones, to be very much of an acquired taste. She does that talk/sing/rap thing that I’ve never really been crazy about. She seems to me more about attitude than singing and well, generally speaking, not my thing. I tried to get into it but just couldn’t.

I keep wondering how this album would sound with somebody else singing it. Singers make a difference. Imagine the Stones with Keith Richards singing all those great songs.

Here’s something with gobs of funky guitar:

So if someone had played this album for me without telling me who the guitar player was, I’d say good player, but I wouldn’t buy the album. This strikes me as less about being a Beck album and more about him being a sideman to a not particularly interesting group. Great guitar playing in and among so-so material just doesn’t do it for me.

So I was hoping to review this and say, Hey, Jeff Beck has a new album and it’s good. (Like I was able to do with his peer Eric Clapton whose album at least sounds like a Clapton album). But at the end of the day, although I might occasionally listen to a tune online, disappointingly, I’ll pass on buying this one.

2.5 out of 4 stars

 

6 thoughts on “Album Review – Jeff Beck – Loud Hailer

  1. Yeah I tried, I really did. I listened to the album all the way through with every intention of listening a second time. But halfway through I just abandoned it. I would like to be charitable and think that Beck is just trying to mix it up, trying to be cutting edge. But this just smacks of yet another aging rocker trying to stay relevant. And pandering to the age group that, let’s face it, likely spends the most on music.

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  2. Thanks for posting that. I’m a big Beck fan and like his different directions. He likes to work with the young, off the main stream singers, Imelda May, Imogen Heap (Rollin and Tumblin, killer. Probably more your style). I really like the cut and I like Rosie. It has the same feel as “People Get Ready”. So there you go Dr Jim you turned CB onto a new cut he likes. Jeff’s guitar takes it out nicely. I can see how it would rub people. Couldn’t play the second cut but I will probably like it. (Paul and Kayne? Never heard the Kayne guy and haven’t listened to young Paul in a long time)

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  3. I’ve been listening to Jeff Beck since “Blow by Blow” (1975) was his latest album. Prior to this, “Flash” (1985) was the only album I thought was a miss. But honestly, I think “Loud Hailer” is worse. I couldn’t listen to it all the way through, even once. I tried, but I found it actually unlistenable to. It’s not just the fact that singer’s not very good, it’s the fact the songs are in themselves are just dreadful compositions. “Hey Ho Silver Lining” is actually a very good piece of writing and production by comparison. Seriously.

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    1. Yeah, it’s not that great, really. I give Beck credit for trying to explore new sounds. But that means he’s going to sometimes hit the wall, sometimes put out a great one. Alas, I await the next great one. I’ll be writing about ‘Blow by Blow’ down the road. Terrific album.

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