First Impressions of New SM & Jicks

I just listened to KCRW’s free stream of the new Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks album, Mirror Traffic. It’s produced by Beck, and I have to say, I love it. It’s got some sounds I haven’t heard on any of the previous Jicks albums. Some fine acoustic guitar work, along with the slide, and some echo. Yes, more echo. I think it’s safe to say, though, that none of the previous Jicks albums really repeated themselves, and the trend continues here. Some reviews have said this one’s a move away from the guitar-solo-heavy stuff of previous albums, but that’s BS. There are still solos. And they’re cool. Just different, I’d say, not really as proggy as say, on Pig Lib, or a tune like “Elmo Delmo” from the last record. More pedals are in use here, maybe.

I have the Beck-produced Charlotte Gainsbourg album, IRM, and I can’t say there’s like, a “Beck production style.” I think he’s a collaborator who tends to help bring out whatever’s best about the individual artist. That’s my take from listening to this new Jicks record.


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