On ‘Wig Out,’ Stephen Malkmus grows up tunefully

Categories: Chicago Sun-Times

BY MARK GUARINO | Chicago Sun-Times

January 6, 2014 7:16PM

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, “Wig Out at Jagbags” (Matador)

Stephen Malkmus, the former frontman and guitarist of Pavement, shows that growing older is no bummer. This sixth album past his Pavement days is lined with moments that both jab and lament the inevitable responsibilities of adulthood. “We grew up listening to the music from the best decade ever,” he sings (“Lariat”) without dictating exactly which one.

If Pavement was college rock irreverence at its finest, this solo album leans heavily on the Grateful Dead legacy for stoner jams (“The Janitor Revealed”), psychedelic grandeur (“Surreal Teenagers”) and twin guitar beauty (“Cinnamon and Lesbians”). As always, amid the gnarly rhythm twists and turns, the melodic hooks prevail. “Come and join us in this punk rock tune/Come and slam dance with some ancient dudes,” he sings, a cheery invitation without pretense or a grudge.


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