Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks

Mirror Traffic

Written by: TL on 04/10/2011 14:38:04

Despite being an eighties child, it took me ages to really get into music, and I often regret the fact that I missed a vast amount of the awesome bands that were prominent in the nineties. Take Pavement for instance, who I only got into when they got back together and played at Roskilde Festival last year. I fell completely in love with them then, and uncool as it sounds, I probably liked their compilation "Quarantine The Past" more than most of the actual albums I put in my Top 15 list for the year, despite the fact that I didn't know the band except by reputation before that. Effectively I'm also late to the party when it comes to Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks - The project in which Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus has made music following Pavement's demise.

So here's an attempt to catch up at least, with a review of Malkmus and The Jicks' new album "Mirror Traffic", an album that proves, much to my delight, that Malkmus doesn't seem too eager to do something too distanced from the music that got him and Pavement famous. The product is crisp, low-fi slacker-rock, complete with deliberately dodgy singing, fuzzy guitar melodies, quirky lyrics and surprisingly catchy choruses. Bar the fact that there are possibly a bit more guitar solos - most of which sound really cool and fit right in, rather than feeling excessive and glued in - there's really not much difference between listening to this and listening to "Quarantine The Past". Malkmus' songs are still irresistibly charming, and his style is still perfectly chill, making you smile and relax no matter what you're doing while listening.

Granted, to begin with "Mirror Traffic" can feel a little inconsistent, opening up almost too casually with "Tigers" and "No One Is (As I Are Be)", before hitting an early high point with "Senator" and "Brain Gallop". Especially the former will function as a fix point for your attention right off the bat, as it has an inimitable pop quality while still being a total garage/stoner-type of song. In comparison, the remaining album can seem a bit lacklustre, for not having similarly obvious hooks, but given time, the songs will reveal more and more of the same endearing qualities. It simply is flat out impossible to listen to this stuff and have a bad time.

Taking a view from the top, "Mirror Traffic" is the sort of album that I find myself very likely to return to again and again, and while it will often be to hear songs like "Senator", "Brain Gallop" and "Share The Red" again, I'll probably also often get stuck listening to the rest of the tracks as well. It's hard to really explain why, Malkmus' songs are just a different sort of cool and enjoyable that should catch your attention right away. I guess long time fans can question how much the singer/guitarist/songwriter has really evolved over the past 10 years, but with me getting on board with him this late, I honestly can't care less. For the moment I just can't see how anyone could ever get enough of him.

Download: Senator, Brain Gallop, Share The Red,
For The Fans Of: Pavement, Eels, Dinosaur Jr.

Release Date 04.07.2011
Domino Records

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Senator by DominoRecordCo

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