Beck's first real album in six years Morning Phase is billed as a companion piece to his 2002 confessional LP Sea Change, which itself was considered the singer-songwriter's best work upon its release. Since the Dangermouse produced Modern Guilt, there's also been an album of sheet music - Song Reader - though his latest record harks back to the subtle brilliance of that acoustic-driven album, 12 years ago.  

BeckBeck Has Returned with 'Modern Phase'

Morning Phase was preceded by the dreamy tones of first single Blue Moon and critics agree that the record is rich with similarly ethereal gems.

"At its core, Morning Phase is a record about what to do when the world seems totally fucked. Irony doesn't cut it anymore; truth, beauty and resolve are the best weapons," said Rolling Stone.

"Morning Phase is an often gorgeous sequel to Sea Change, but it's also more than that: it's cheering proof that Beck isn't ready to start repeating himself just yet," wrote the Independent on Sunday.

"Despite the lyrical themes, the record's sun-dappled shimmer suggests Beck sees a way out of his emotional hole," said the Guardian.

Listen to Beck's Blue Moon:

"It's an altogether brighter beast, built by an older, wiser soul who seems to have been taking a few years to work out exactly where he wants to be as an artist," said Drowned in Sound.

Beck has become a parent since his last release, and in conversation with GQ, he spoke about the influence of being a father had on Morning Phase, "It has changed it" he said. "Someone who does what I do, you are already connected into emotional and personal things, coming from a visceral place. And kids do that to you. So it's really just an escalation. I was pretty soft before, so now I am just totally soft." [Laughs]

Beck's Morning Phase is released in the U.S today (February 25, 2014).