From fighting for Tibet to proving white boys can rhyme, there’s 100 reasons to worship the Beastie Boys. But, plugging in a wah-wah pedal and writing an album of indulgent jazz-funk instrumentals is certainly not one of them.
Although always infinitely more entertaining when playing dress up for the videos to ‘Sabotage’ and ‘Intergalactic’, Mike D, Adrock and MCA have plenty of previous when it comes to serious musicianship. On their legendary ’90s albums they knocked out smokey grooves to give anthems like ‘Root Down’ or ‘Pass The Mic’ breathing space. But ‘The Mix-Up’, the hastily recorded (by their standards) follow-up to 2004’s criminally underrated ‘To The 5 Boroughs’ is repetitive, two-dimensional and couldn’t involve more noodle if The Mars Volta played their local Wagamamas. So, unless you’re trying to grow a beard and want to speed the process up, you’re unlikely to get anything from the throwaway likes of ‘14th St Break’ and ‘The Rat Cage’.
If you want to start a Beastie Boys collection, don’t even think about beginning here. Instead, pick up second-hand copies of ‘Paul’s Boutique’, ‘Check Your Head’ and ‘Ill Communication’. These albums show the gang of three at their most innovative, funny and politically outspoken. And, if you really want an album of instrumentals, root out their 1996 compilation ‘The In Sound From Way Out!’, because ‘The Mix-Up’ finds the Beastie Boys with nothing much to say, in more ways than one.