Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Mirror Traffic

Stephen Malkmus released his fourth album with the Jicks in 2011.  Produced by Beck, it's a fairly sprawling album encompassing 15 tracks of varying styles, opening with strummy pop song Tigers which is a fairly catchy tune bursting with ideas in two and a half minutes.  No One Is is more relaxed, featuring quiet guitar picking, occasional piano and brass.  It's one of the more enjoyable tracks here, with each instrument given room to breathe and occupy the space.

Those who miss Pavement are catered for here also with the trashy Senator, bashed guitars and dodgy lyrics ("what the senator wants is a blow job").  But mostly we get muso-Malkmus showing off his (considerable) talent on guitar on intricate, jammy songs like Brain Gallop, Spazz and the rocky Share The Red.  That's not to say they are without merit, the easy, melodic Asking Price and the pedal steel drenched Long Hard Book.  We also get poppier moments like the strummy Stick Figures In Love, the almost Ziggy-esque Tune Grief and the sixties-evoking Forever 28.  But at 15 tracks, admittedly for the most part, brief ones, there's a LOT to take in, making the album quite a dense listen.