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Beastie Boys, ‘Hot Sauce Committee Part Two’ – Album Review

Beastie Boys
Junko Kimura, Getty Images

The new Beastie Boys album ‘Hot Sauce Committee Part Two’ finds them filtering the “everything-including-the kitchen-sink” method — working in classic albums such as ‘Check Your Head’ and ‘Ill Communication’ through the more organic, self-played funk sounds of their all-instrumental 2007 album ‘The Mix-Up.’

Yes, we know the band played their own music on those previous albums, but they also featured a healthy dose of samples. This time out, it sounds like a huge majority of the notes came from the fingers of the trio and their long-time keyboardist Money Mark. It’s definitely a return to more comfortable ground from the band’s most recent rap album, 2004’s underrated, sample-reliant old-school ‘To the 5 Boroughs.’

If the Beasties’ typically tongue-in-cheek press releases can be taken literally, it seems this album contains the bulk of what was originally going to be 2009’s ‘Hot Sauce Committee Part One,’ which was postponed when Adam Yauch (MCA) was diagnosed with cancer.

Thankfully, he’s well on the mend now, and his bass prowls and crawls all over this album. Check out the ripping, woozy line he throws down at around the 2:44 mark of ‘Too Many Rappers’ (a team-up with Nas that was the album’s first single), or the way he darts in and out and generally rattles your teeth in ‘Nonstop Disco Powerpack.’

It seems that the vocal-less touring the band did in support of ‘The Mix-Up’ has made them an even tighter and more flexible musical unit. Thankfully they don’t stick to the lightweight jazz-funk palette of that album. Instead, they roam all over their previously established world of influences — from hip-hop throwbacks to punk-influenced sing-a-longs in the P-Funk referencing ‘Funky Donkey,’ and even the looping, Santogold-assisted reggae of ‘Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win.’

The current single, ‘Make Some Noise,’ is perhaps their most obvious hit since ‘Intergalactic,’ but really the victory here is how fresh the Beastie Boys sound — making yet another trip through their grab-bag of tricks on an undeniably strong front-to-back album. Some people feared 1998’s ‘Hello Nasty’ might be their last classic release, but it’s clear now the band was merely exploring on the last two projects and that what they brought was worth the wait.

Rating: 8/10

Listen to the Beastie Boys ‘Hot Sauce Committee Part Two’

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