Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks: Mirror Traffic
Pavement main man Stephen Malkmus keeps his indie cred alive in the latest offering with The Jicks. Mirror Traffic isn’t a major departure from the band’s previous sound or even from Pavement’s sound, but it is proof that Malkmus still knows how to write a catchy tune after decades in the business.
Production duties on Mirror Traffic come courtesy of Beck, but the superstar doesn’t assert his own sound or even leave much of his own distinctive mark upon the record. Instead it’s just rough enough around the edges to keep its lo-fi charm, but it’s polished enough to be a progression for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.
Though all the songs on Mirror Traffic are finely honed, not many of them stand out from one another. “Senator” is a notable exception, with its catchy commentary on American politics: “I know what the senator wants / what the senator wants is a blowjob.” “Tune Grief” is a deliciously distorted piece of pop bliss, and “Fall Away” is surprisingly atmospheric and dreamy. Overall, Mirror Traffic isn’t covering new ground, but when you’ve offered up as much as Malkmus has, more of the same is still better than most will produce at their peak.