Beastie Boys

The Mix-Up

On The Mix-Up, the Beastie Boys try to work out of the artistic malaise that marked their last proper full-length, 2004's To the Five Boroughs. For Brooklyn's finest, that means looking back to the instrumental lounge funk of their mid-’90s gravy period and discs such as Check Your Head and Ill Communication. Even Money Mark, the Rhodes-organ-playing songwriter who frequently appeared on those albums, makes a return appearance. There's nothing strange or rigorous here, just 12 sunny and breezy tracks bearing titles such as "Freaky Hijiki" and "Dramastically Different." With wah-wah guitars and loping bass, the group evokes ’60s soundtrack music for spy movies and swinging London movies. The Mix-Up is full of tasty, unassuming jams that are seemingly inconsequential, and completely sidesteps the question of whether the Beastie Boys are still relevant, opting instead to score background fodder for your next outdoor BBQ. 3 stars