Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Mirror Traffic

'Mirror Traffic' is the fifth album from Stephen Malkmus' current outfit The Jicks, and after years of gradually moving away from the old Pavement sound, here Malkmus returns to it in a way that will doubtless please fans of his old group. For instance opening track 'Tigers' recalls the sound of the great 'Brighten The Corners' album. It's a return to laid back, loose and rather stoned sounding indie rock with a lazy country edge and quirky one liners (see for example "I know what the senator wants, what the senator wants is a blowjob"). Beck's production is both suitable and audiably evident, in fact 'No One Is (As I Are Be)' brings up memories of Beck's more acoustic material. Elsewhere there's the dreamy haze of instrumental 'Jumblegloss', the humble beauty of 'Asking Price' ad the no-nonsense rock n roll fun of 'Tune Grief', which has an enjoyably mad grunge-punk bite. It's an enjoyable listen although at 15 tracks it does overrun a bit, and certainly isn't completely filler-free. But fans of Malkmus' solo work and especially Pavement will be pleased with this return to stylistic roots. 7/10







"On August 23, 2011, Matador will be releasing ‘Mirror Traffic‘, the 5th post-Pavement album from Stephen Malkmus and the 3rd or 4th to bear the Jicks name (depending on whether you’re looking at spines, sleeves or labels). 


 Produced by Beck Hansen, ‘Mirror Traffic’ makes a compelling case that after some 22 years in the public eye, Stephen Malkmus’ full range of musical and lyrical capabilities had yet to be previously explored. The casual virtuosity (and staggering guitar invention) won’t necessarily come as a shock, nor will the rapier wit of one of contemporary rock’s brightest minds.  But without dissing prior works that we deeply love, we can promise that ‘Mirror Traffic’ is the album that ties together Stephen’s skill-set like none of its predecessors.  The recording is nothing short of gorgeous, the songs crackling with confidence.  Calling this an album of the year candidate is really selling the record and the talented ensemble behind it short — what’s so special about this year, anyway?


It is with regret — and deep appreciation for one of our favorite players of all-time — that we can confirm ‘Mirror Traffic’ is the final Jicks album to feature the drumming of Janet Weiss. Jake Morris, best known to many of you as the drummer for The Joggers, will assume the same position in the Jicks for upcoming shows, which we’ll be announcing very soon.  We’ll also get on with the business of previewing an MP3 from ‘Mirror Traffic’ on a date in the very near future."



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