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CD review: Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks, Wig Out At Jagbags (Domino)

Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks

Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks

Wig Out At Jagbags

(Domino)

With this latest "solo" album, Stephen Malkmus has now made more records with The Jicks than he ever did with Pavement, the influential California-based band he led throughout the 1990s. (If you're keeping score, then it's six albums to five in favour of The Jicks.) A substantial body of work, then, at least in its size - Malkmus's whimsical lyrics and spare composition, on the other hand, mean his music could never be described as weighty. But no matter. Wig Out At Jagbags sees him continue further down the path laid out in 2011's Mirror Traffic. The producer of that album, Beck, is absent here, but the sense of playfulness he delivered is still evident. Recorded in rural France, the album was inspired by the city of Cologne, the music of Can and Weezer, and a desire to make "indie guys … sound Memphis", at least according to Malkmus, who now lives in Berlin. His wish has certainly been accomplished, particularly on tracks such as the brassy Chartjunk (imagine a mash-up of every decent Billy Joel song) and Cinnamon & Lesbians, which is apparently a hymn of sorts to his former home in America's hipster capital, Portland, in Oregon.

Barry Didcock

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