Beastie Boys, 'The Mix-Up' (Capitol)

5
The Mix-Up
Critical Mass
Label: Capitol

by David Peisner

Beastie Boys have been casting about for nearly a decade, trying to figure out what to do for their career's third act. This all-instrumental album feels less like a redefinition than a placeholder until they think of something better. Which isn't to say it's a dud: Shuffling, New Orleans funk and murky, spaced-out dub are flavored with hints of Nuggets-era acid rock, blaxploitation soul, and Afrika Bambaataa -- inspired drum breaks. The Mix-Up never sounds simply like a Beasties album with nobody rhyming on it, but it's slight and, even at its liveliest, inconsequential.

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