Friday, 12 June 2009

Beck – One Foot In The Grave (Expanded Edition)

Originally released by K Records in 1994, this is the one in which threw people a curve ball after Loser and went lo-fi. It kicks off with some fine finger picking blues in the shape of He’s A Mighty Good Leader. Sleeping Bag follows, a sublime slacker blues. I Get Lonesome staggers around drunk, before Burnt Orange Peel is a riotous fuzz like Eels make when they’re psyched up. Cyanide Breath Mint is the early folky lo-fi we so loved Beck for. After a couple of ‘’lost the plot’ style bits of nonsense, we get Hollow Log, a lovely open hearted acoustic blues. Asshole is a sign of things to come, some cool wordplay, a strung out vocal, albeit over a cyclical strummed acoustic guitar. I’ve Seen The Land Beyond is ramshackle hillbilly moonshine music, but somehow endearing, while Painted Eyelids is a lovely little campfire singalong, warm and rustic. Atmospheric Conditions closes the original album, a duet with a gravely voice fellow, which is spooky and very cool.

The additional tracks double the size of the album. Whiskey Can Can is Beck’s Velvet Underground tune, perfectly executed. Mattress precedes the anti folk movement with its rambling vocals and cardboard box drums. Woe On Me sets Beck up as a disciple of Dylan, while Teenage Wastebasket is more Eels sleaze and Your Love Is Weird an oddly endearing teenage love poem. Piss On The Door is a rickety piece of old school rock n roll and the title track a blues stomp, rhythm tapped out and harmonica blown. These are enough alone to make it worth investing in the expanded edition, something of a rarity these days to find enough unreleased nuggets out there.

One Foot In The Grave (Expanded Edition) is out now on XL Recordings
Beck website is here

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