Sunday, 18 September 2011

Listen: Stephen Malkmus + The Jicks - Mirror Traffic

"We are the tigers
We need seperate rooms,
We are so divided
Let us in."

Pavement is dead, long live the Jicks!

It's sadly true - the Pavement reunion has been officially put to bed, confirmed by Stephen Malkmus in a recent interview. It's time to stop looking back and to move onwards and upwards. It will all be OK.

Softening the blow is this latest offering from Malkmus' solo project, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks. Does this man ever take a day off? It seems not. Mirror Traffic, produced by the current indie go-to-guy Beck, marks the band's fifth offering in ten years. After the previous strung-out jams of the sprawling Real Emotional Trash, it sounds as though the recent reunion has had a lasting effect; I know everyone's been saying it, but this is probably the closest thing to a Pavement record he's produced so far.

There is a sharper focus to the songs; even though Malkmus is the king of trail-of-thought melodies and subconscious meanderings, as a whole this album seems more complete than some of his other outings. It also serves as an important reminder - he's been going it alone now for ten years, exactly matching the lifespan of Pavement; this certainly isn't any kind of vanity project or frustrated solo effort but an accomplished band in its own right. And with that said, I promise the Pavement comparisons will now cease.

Opening track 'Tigers' is as perfect as a song can get - a peppy pop ode with imagery only Malkmus could serve up ("I caught you streaking in your Birkenstocks, a scary thought, in the 2ks..."), and the hits don't stop there - 'Senator', 'Stick Figures In Love' and 'Tune Grief' are bone-shakingly brilliant and catchy as hell. The whole album travels across many sonic terrains - we have the tender introspective and calm ('No One Is (As I Are Be)', 'Long Hard Book', 'Asking Price'), the atmospheric instrumentals ('Jumblegloss') and the laid-back, sleepy tangles that piece together the loud and quiet ('Share The Red', 'Gorgeous Georgie').

Some people might have complained that Mirror Traffic is a little too long, but that's like moaning about having too many parties to go to or too much fun - plain ridiculous. When Stephen Malkmus' songwriting is concerned, there can never be enough to listen to, and I hope it never ends.

No comments:

Post a Comment