Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks - “Wig Out At Jagbags”

Keeping on keeping on

Stephen Malkmus has now
made as many albums as
a solo artist as he did with
Pavement, and, despite
a slight softening of his sound
on his last album, Mirror
Traffic (via “production” from
Beck), he’s always been a
fairly singular guy.

Nevertheless, each
Pavement record had an
identity absent from Malkmus’
solo work – and that’s not
meant as a slight. He’s clearly
headstrong, however laidback
his sound, but Wig Out…
offers the first suggestions that
he’s made a textbook
“Stephen Malkmus record”. All
boxes are ticked – abstraction
in lyrics and titles, a sneakily
signature guitar sound, wry
self-reference – and the horn
sections that bolster the sound
on J Smoov and Chartjunk are,
frankly, delicious. Meanwhile,
lead single Lariat is summery
and seemingly off the cuff,
while closer Surreal Teenagers
even gets close to the perfect
riff that our hero has always
searched for.

But (you knew one was
coming): it never feels quite
enough to warrant the repeated
listens that any one of
Malkmus’ other solo records
deserve, which feels something
of a travesty.

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Domino | cat no tbc (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Jake Kennedy
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