From the first two clicks on the album’s first track, “Groove Holmes,” be prepared to groove and not stop for at least 38 minutes. (Maybe more if you put your CD player on repeat, like I did.) This isn’t the usual offering from our Beastie friends. There’s no rapping here, there’s not even the brash sounds of punk that we heard on “Aglio E Olio,” just cool, funky instrumental jams ” … composed and performed by the Beastie Boys.” This disc was originally available through a 1,000 copy vinyl-only Grand Royal mail-order.
This is nothing new. On almost every Beastie album, there have been three or four instrumentals. These demonstrate that they aren’t just mindless rapiers, or crazy punks. They really have a feel for good instrumentation and it shows on this “new” album, a compilation of instrumentals off previous albums.
There is a good balance of slow (“Sabrosa,” “Namaste”) and fast songs (“Bobo On the Comer,” “In 3’s”) and some that even switch speeds in the middle (“Pow”).
The Beasties even go with a world theme on the track “Shambala” which was written with the Free Tibet Organization (a cause that the Boys continually fight for) and features some Tibetan chanting. The Beasties know how to make a song interesting, while still keeping it real. On “Shambala” a very mysterious drum beat is laid down by Eric Bobo, as the chanting fades in and out over the “wah-wah” of the guitar put down by Adam Horowitz.
For those people who say lyrics are necessary to tell a story, you will be proved wrong as the last track, “Drinkin Wine” fades out. The great instrumentation on this one evokes the image of slipping into a drunken hangover after a wild night of partying.
Oddly, though, the liner notes are in French. Parlez-vous Francais? .