Forest for the Trees

The year’s biggest curio, this stack o’ tracks by Carl Stephenson — coauthor of Beck’s ”Loser” — was recorded five years ago but delayed while Stephenson battled mental illness. With its bong-watered, headphone-ready melange of distorted vocals, hip-hop beats, space-cadet lyrics, and sampled effects, the self-titled Forest for the Trees is a spiritual cousin to Beck’s debut. What it lacks, alas, is Beck’s way with a hook. Only the deliciously trippy single ”Dreams” and a few other tracks (the new-wave funk of ”Planet Unknown”) whack their way through this fascinating, but frustrating, sonic jungle. B-

Forest for the Trees
  • Music