When The Beastie Boys announced that they were going to be releasing a brand new album this summer that was completely instrumental, I was intrigued to say the least. I've always been a fan of the funky little instrumental jams that have glued together some of their previous albums, but when they started name dropping Gang of Four and Killing Joke, I began imagining all kinds of crazy possibilities. Unfortunately, I don't think The Mix Up quite lives up to the expectations I had set up for myself. For the most part, it greatly resembles everything we've heard from their previous instrumental compilation The In Sound from Way Out, which isn't a bad thing in itself. But aside from the extra bit of guitar and keyboard noodling (assisted by frequent collaborator Money Mark Nashita), there isn't a heck of a lot of progression in their sound.
Maybe it's because I'm such a big fan of instrumental bands like Turing Machine, Don Caballero and Trans Am that I was hoping for something just a little bit more. On the other hand, I realize that's simply unfair, because the Beasties don't have the same crazy musical skills that some of those other bands have. In the end, it's still a fun listen that continues to grow on me, and I have to give them props for trying something new and completely non-commercial. It will be interesting to hear what the vocal remixes of these tracks will sound like. The Mix Up hits stores on June 26th.
» Bonus Track: The Cousin of Death
» Bonus Track: Son of Neckbone (from The In Sound from Way Out!)
» Pre-order it on Amazon