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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Music notes

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks released their album, “Real Emotional Trash,” a follow-up to “Face the Truth.” Janet Weiss of Quasi, the disbanded Sleater-Kinney, and The Jicks, contributes to the solidness of the band’s performance,
giving structure to Malkmus’ guitar-noodling. The Jicks form a complete package, as worthy of the spotlight as the frontman himself.
The better songs on “Real Emotional Trash” refrain from the jam band self-indulgence that typifies Malkmus’ output. “Out of Reaches,” with a keyboard bedecking the bridge section, is as pretty as Christmas lights. “Gardenia” is one of the more memorable tracks on the album. The sunny optimism of early 1960s British pop shines through, but what makes this song work are the back-up vocals, infectious to the point of overtaking Malkmus’ melody.
“We Can’t Help You” is a formulaic penultimate track that’s in direct contradiction to the song title. As for the closer, “Wicked Wanda,” it ends on a lackluster note that would otherwise be a decent effort.
The problem at hand with Stephen Malkmus’ output over the course of this decade is lack of quality control, and hopefully that will change with Janet Weiss in the picture. The songs tend to be boring – listeners want a little variation, interesting instrumentation. They want proof that the artist respects his audience and desires to give them quality. Some, not all, want to hear a hook, because a good hook is no mean feat. Those are all of Malkmus’ faults. I am sure he can pull off a fifth album before the end of this decade that will excite old Pavement fans and newcomers alike.
I hereby assign “Real Emotional Trash” (Matador, 2008), a “C” – not too bad, but not too good either.

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