Shitake Monkey wonder halfway through their debut, “We wanna know if you can go hard/’cuz for the Monkey it ain’t never been hard.” That last bit is misleading because Street Beef spends its entire time barely concealing its boner.
Street Beef might start as a frequently annoying collage of Scissor Sisters, Blur, Bis, Beastie Boys, and Bloodhound Gang, but once the geeky faÃ§ade wears off it’s Leisure Suit Larry meets LCD Soundsystem. Comprising three behind-the-scenes Sony vets whose combined resume includes work for Wu Tang, Yoko Ono, and Jennifer Lopez, it’s easy to get lost in the sexual marketing manifestos (“Two Dudes,” “Baby Baby”) and ignore the depth and richness of the production. Influences as stray as early synth pop, The Russian Futurists, and Beta Band flourish on “I’m Gonna Take You Home” and “Turn It Up,” while a tormented, distorted-bass solo rivals that early Metallica masterpiece, “Anesthesia: Pulling Teeth.”
– Steve Forstneger
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