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Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Tigers
Aug 25, 2011
Total plays:
55 times
Why do we like this?
Talk about a "define indie" conversation starter: Mirror Traffic is Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks' fifth album, and was produced by Beck. While "inaccessible" has been the lingering story of Malkmus' music for 20 years, Beck has been about as enigmatic as a car wash, self-contained but beaming with familiarity.

Beck's production talents hedge Malkmus away from habits that tend to lose fans along the way, like disjointed, wrought-out melodies. Most tracks maintain his unflappable/aloof lyrical style ("Asking Price"), but with a ramped up strategy, like throwing in a vocal delay ("Stick Figures In Love"), fuzz box ("Tune Grief"), or psychedelic phantasmagoria ("Jumblegloss") to help connect the dots.

As a whole, it makes for a seamless collaboration rather than an ironic double-take. Not that this is the first break from Pavement form for Malkmus. Listen to 10-year old "Pencil Rot" off his self-titled first Jicks album, and it sounds like a Beck production ten years ago. (Enter chicken-versus-Wet From Birth debate). Regardless, Mirror Traffic stays true to the band's style and sensibilities and weaves its lyrical way forward.

Fans will love Mirror Traffic for the same delicate pacing and intriguing narratives Malkmus delivers in stride. For those who never spent much time, or got into Odelay but not Terror Twilight, (like my hippie-bus driving tour guide in the 90s who chucked their mix tape after one song), this one's got a bit more to bite into.
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