Album Review: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Real Emotional Trash

first_imgReal Emotional Trash is a pithy summation of the music Stephen Malkmus has been making for the last sixteen years. As part of 90s legends Pavement, he wrote songs that acknowledged the noble truth that good pop is both infantile and profound. 2005’s Face the Truth saw him re-ignite some of the old attitude; this disc represents a musical reinvigoration, as he triumphantly manages to raise his musicianship without losing his dishevelled charm.The guitar here is simply excellent, each riff, lick, and solo apparently pathologically refined during the album’s tortuous recording process. The most obvious comparison is Television’s classic Marquee Moon, which, as the discerning listener will know, is no faint praise. Malkmus’ talent seems limitless: he can solo with laser control like Tom Verlaine, chug like Pete Townshend, he even rocks it like Jimmy Page on opener ‘Dragonfly Pie’. Thankfully, he hasn’t forsaken either his wackiness (‘Hopscotch Willie’- the surreal story of a framed mobster), or his wry melancholy; “Sometimes it feels like the world’s filled with feathers/ Table-bottom gum just holding it together…”, which stops the album descending into a festival of fret-onanism. The Jicks are a fantastic band, turning their talents to blues-rock, folk-ballad, and goofy Velvet Underground style pop, but all with an individual flourish. The title track is the group’s shot at Marquee Moon/’Paranoid Android’ glory, and while it doesn’t quite make it, its 10 minutes still glide like the proverbial marshmallow boat on the chocolate river.  You’d like to think that this album would get massive press and sell a million, but sadly Malkmus is no longer 21 and the plaudits will go to the supple youngsters that the industry slathers for. Never mind, whether you’re already a fan or not, this should be an essential purchase for fans of guitar rock.Four stars.By Richard Woodalllast_img

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