Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Wig Out at Jagbags
This is a perfect album. Great guitar. If Malkmus ever puts out an all-instrumental album, I’d have it on repeat, just to hear his guitar over and over. He’s pretty much patented his lyrics: clever, sly, and somewhat cryptic. “Independence Day” is a nice song about good self-esteem and “Cinnamon and Lesbians,” which seems to be about neither, is why I say somewhat cryptic lyrics. Both songs are the standout tracks, and the rest have a good groove, and cool pop/rock sensibilities. Absolutely nothing wrong with them.
So it pains me to say that this is almost a duplicate of his last album, Mirror Traffic, in the sense that these songs are as good, and almost as interchangeable. I loved Mirror Traffic, said it was his best album, and the judgment still stands. If you liked Mirror Traffic, you'll love this album. I’m not slamming Wig Out at Jagbags. I love this album to pieces, but I wish Malkmus and company would shake things up a bit, just the way he used to with Pavement.
Those days are long gone, but not forgotten. And since Mirror Traffic was something of a hit, it’s totally understandable that he’d want to continue in this vein. But I wish he’d taken that album and just used it as a starting point for branching out, and progressing beyond that. The upshot is that we may have to learn to love him with this sound, which isn’t a bad thing here, but it also leaves a nagging sense that he could, and should, do better. If he ever makes another album as good as this or Mirror Traffic, I won’t be nagged by anything with it.