The fact that the new Particle lineup chose Beck's "E-Pro" to strut its new vocal stuff might not be a forewarning of sweeping changes to come. (It might simply have been a handy excuse to bring in Blackalicious for quite the Hollywood cameo.) But it's certainly a huge departure from the group's usual twenty-minute space-tripping prog-jams. That the bandmates have decided to dump their all-instrumentalism is so say-it-ain't-so that the Earth shudders a bit on its axis, although a rendering of "W" with Joe Satriani and DJ Logic finds them picking on someone more their size. (One needn't have been at the gig to know there was a lot of scowling concentration with barely a look away from their instruments.) They're still hash-bowlers down to their atoms, though, so there's still plenty of Neptune-imported reggaeton, Commodores funk, and Jerry 101, all dipped in liquid plasma and framing the sonic answer to R. Crumb black-light posters.

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Eric W. Saeger