Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks: Wig Out at Jagbags (Domino/Universal)

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Stephen Malkmus/Jicks: Rumble at the Rainbo
Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks: Wig Out at Jagbags (Domino/Universal)

After fuzzed-out psychedelics with the Jicks along the lines of Neil Young/Television, former Pavement-man Malkmus reconnected with the programme in 2011 with his Mirror Traffic album (produced by Beck).

And this one – with references to his indie.rock past, sometimes poking fun at it as on the one-listen comedic Rumble at the Rainbo about band reunions – continues in a similarly enjoyable manner.

He channels a little of the mid-60s Who as much as the alt.rock of the 90s, throws that wobbly voice up front on cracked ballads (the dark but Reed-like witty Houston Hades), let's everything breath on the lowkey and unexpectedly cruisey J Smoov (with typically tart lyrics and woozy sub-Bacharach horns alongside strings), offers brittle and ragged radio powerpop-rock (Chartjunk) and something as slippery as the shape-shifting five minute-plus Surreal Teenagers.

But there are also lesser tracks – Shibboleth which doubtless comes up better live, the slight'n'nice enough Independence Street – although not many could write, let alone get away with, a stoner pop song entitled Cinnamon and Lesbians.

Not an essential, but certainly an enjoyable, Malkmus album.

Nice he's having fun too.

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