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Album Review: ‘Loud Hailer’ by Jeff Beck

Working with a noisy young band, the guitar virtuoso pairs politics with nuanced playing

Will Hermes Jul 29, 2016
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Jeff Beck and Bones. Photo: Ross Halfin

Jeff Beck and British rock duo Bones. Photo: Ross Halfin

[easyreview cat1title = “Loud Hailer” cat1rating = “3” cat1detail = “Atco Records”]

Jeff Beck has earned the right to wax virtuosic on a cushioned stool at jazz fests. Instead, at 72, he’s rediscovering his love of Jimi Hendrix with Bones, a young British rock duo whose better moments recall the big-beat noise of Sleigh JeffBeck_LoudHailer-CoverBells. See “Pull It,” an exercise in off-the-leash, bass-drop guitar-tone nastiness that could make Jack White blush. It’s the high point of Loud Hailer (an English colloquialism for megaphone), and its wordlessness is a plus; other songs decry war, apathy, greed, crass media, evil politicians, empty fame and other ills with less art than righteous heart. But Beck’s playing is as powerful as ever ”“ by turns brutal, with the heavy-metal­ flamethrowing at the tails of “Thugs Club” and “The Ballad of the Jersey Wives,” and nuanced, with the ambient folk-blues of “Shrine” and the instrumental “Edna.” Here, his guitar is the most articulate voice in the room.

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