Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Mirror Traffic
Expansive treat from ever-original American artist produced by Beck
There’s a fine line between playing to the crowd and finding your groove, and sometime Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus appears to be walking it. His new album bestrides most genres known to man, bouncing between the familiar (the cheery indie twang of ‘Stick Figures in Love’, the macho power-pop of ‘Tune Grief’, ‘Long Hard Book’s sad slide guitar country) and the sublime (the blissed-out, horn-soothed West Coast balladry of ‘No One (Is As I Are Be)’, the dream-pop interlude ‘Jumblegloss’).
Occasionally stumbling into self-conscious lyrical parody, notably with underwhelming opener ‘Tigers’’ first line ‘I caught you streaking in your Birkenstocks’ and the shallow politicisation of ‘Senator’ (‘what the senator wants is a blow-job’), this is still an expansive musical treat from an ever-original American artist.