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Spins: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

Malkmus

STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS
Wig Out At Jagbags
(Matador)

Malkmus has never sounded more word drunk or happy to be so than he does on these 12 freely associating excursions into whimsy for art’s sake.  As he sings in “Independence Street” and “The Janitor Revealed” respectively, he’s “just busy being free” (not unlike this album’s many malleable melodies) and “in a constant tizzy” (ditto).  About “Independence Street”: The guitar could pass for slow-groove Hendrix, the voice for happy-to-be-sober Alex Chilton.  Unplug ’em, and you’d have the Incredible String Band.

Ditto for “Surreal Teenagers.”  But what’s most impressive is that Malkmus and The Jicks don’t seem to be trying to achieve or to say anything particularly important, even (especially?) when they are-about outmoded music-industry paradigms, for instance (“Chartjunk”), or self-defeatingly hypocritical Christians (“Shibboleth”).

Rating: 7 out of 10

– Arsenio Orteza

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