Judging by looks alone may well be a fool’s game, but the image adorning the sleeve of ‘Hyperspace’ does in fact give much away about Beck’s 14th. Featuring the musician in a bright white suit, stood in front of an ‘80s red car, hand outstretched to shade his face from the light, it’s a perfect visual metaphor. The record sees him teaming up with a handful of pals - producers Pharrell Williams, Paul Epworth and Greg Kurstin, Sky Ferreira, Terrell Hines - for a pristine collection that’s at once the past’s idea of the future as it is the here and now. The glistening synths that weave their way around ‘Chemical’, ‘Dark Places’ and especially the title track could come straight from the Stranger Things soundtrack, full of dreamy retrofuturism.
And still ‘Hyperspace’ is an album that has Beck firmly in the right now, whether thanks to the breathy backing vocals from Sky Ferreira accenting ‘Die Waiting’, the gritty bass propelling ‘Star’, or evidence throughout that he’s updated his white boy hip hop arsenal with sounds from the last few years. This is where ‘Hyperspace’ really heads skyward, particularly via the slow jam vibes of ‘See Through’, or the giddy ‘Chemical’, during which he both bends his signature sound to fit the beat, and even makes brief use of a triplet flow. That Beck should choose to magpie from pop’s zeitgeist is no shocker - nor, of course, is it that he’s done it so well - but that ‘Hyperspace’ is quite so seamless in its execution is an utter joy.