Mon 5 Sep 2011 to Sun 11 Sep 2011

by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

With the question of a Pavement reunion having been firmly and finally answered last year with a yes, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks return with Mirror Traffic: their most immediate and energised set to date. Recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Beck, it is an album comprised of fifteen almost-pop songs, and the sound of a band with a spring in their step.
“This record,” says Malkmus “is relatively approachable.”

As the first producer to work with Malkmus since Pavement, Beck has drawn out a set of performances that ring with clarity and inventiveness, trading in the Jicks more recent wig-out moments for a sharply defined focus and a more colourful depth of field. With nearly half the tracks clocking in at under three minutes, Mirror Traffic flashes by with a lightness of touch; a decision that band and producer found easy to take. “Beck & I were both burned out on the heavy rocking style” says Malkmus, “and playing to the strengths of a melody seemed like a way to go.”

In amongst the usual lyrical flourishes and nonsequitors are some entertainingly direct couplets: “I know what the senator wants / what the senator wants is a blow job” Senator and “No-one is a perfect fit / I don’t believe in that shit,” from the self-explanatory Forever 28.

For someone who has occasionally enjoyed a reputation for throwing ideas into the air and seeing where they land, Mirror Traffic is a confidently direct and purposeful record. Ease into the seat and enjoy the ride.

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