After a brief foray into the world of sheet music, Beck has returned to recorded music with his first major release since 2008’s Modern Guilt. A standalone single, ‘Defriended’ is a slow-burning, chest-thumping affair simultaneously managing to be one of his heaviest and most spaced out records so far.

Opening with high synthesisers hanging gently above a deep bassline, the frantic drums and distorted crashes quickly bust the track wide open. Subtle melodic layers glide in and out over the bass whilst arpeggiating synths, tape loops and fuzz guitars all work towards the same lysergic goal. Beck’s vocals drift underneath soaked in reverb and delay before pleading for ‘Karen’ to ‘turn it all around’ in the climax.

‘Defriended’ could be headphone music just as much as it is begging to burst PA stacks. Lying somewhere between Portishead’s ‘Magic Doors‘ and St. Vincent’s ‘Chloe in the Afternoon‘, repeat listens prove rewarding as each layer becomes more familiar. With a further two albums in the pipeline and another standalone single rumoured, it appears 2013 might just be a very good year for Beck fans.