Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Album Review - Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Real Emotional Trash
[Matador; 04/03/2008]

After a long association with the Jicks, Stephen Malkmus and his buddies return with their finest release yet. With the addition of former Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss, along with longstanding Jicks members, bassist Joanna Bolme and keyboardist/guitarist Mike Clarke, the quartet have reached their peak with “Real Emotional Trash”.

Lyrically, Stephen Malkmus has always kept his listeners hanging on with neat witticism, but he’s always had the ability to really hit home with a verse that does its best to destroy you. This time around, those gut-wrenching lyricisms are embellished all through the band’s fourth album, along with the fuzzy guitar solos and disorderly instrumentation, which will have you raising the question: “is this rock ‘n’ roll?” Well no, but that’s the whole point!

This is displayed no better than during ‘Hopscotch Wille’ the epic title track and the rocking affair that is ‘Baltimore’. ‘We Can’t Help’ and ‘Wicked Wanda’, in contrast, are nice indie ballad-esque tunes that round off the album in tasteful fashion.

In some instances, “Pig Lib” and “Face the Truth” were curtain-raisers to “Real Emotional Trash”. The instrumentation from the Jicks and the addition of Janet Weiss strengthens this musical collective up even more, and quite frankly this batch of sounds is as good as anything the band have achieved, thus far.

By Simon

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