Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash

2008's Real Emotional Trash is the album where Stephen Malkmus finally casts off the shackles of his former band Pavement.  It opens in somewhat lumbering fashion, with the heavy riffs of Dragonfly Pie and the Doors-isms of Hopscotch Willie.  Very much a guitarist album, the ten minute title track is, despite its long-windedness, something of a highlight, taking its time to unfurl some seriously impressive guitar work by Malkmus.  Muscular, riffy rock is the order of the day on tracks like Out of Reaches and Baltimore, which are a long way from the indie sound Pavement were known for.  In other words if intricate fretwork is not your bag, don't come anywhere near this album.  Many of these songs are pretty unfocused.  The terribly titled Elmo Delmo is certainly that, but it works well, albeit in a late 60s/early 70s rock way, ie 'pass the joint' and all that.  Following this, We Can't Help You is practically The Band.  It comes as something of a relief after so much bluster when final track Wicked Wanda starts in relatively quiet fashion before the mighty riffs kick in, in fairness, to pretty excellent effect.  The real question is: is this Malkmus pretending to do a 70s rock album, or is this the real deal?