Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks : Real Emotional Trash

stephen malkmus_jicks_emotional_trash.jpgStephen Malkmus’s new album with his current band, The Jicks, is his strongest yet, and the addition of new Jick Janet Weiss (formerly of Sleater-Keaney) brings a touch of raw power to the proceedings. 

Real Emotional Trash was built from a series of jam sessions, and it shows as each song has an open-ended quality  that, at its best, gives a  loose-rocking feel (the album highlight “Baltimore”), and, at its worst, feels unfinished and rushed (the dragged out “Hopscotch Willie”).  The album falls largely in between great moments within extended musical wanderings and repetitive vamping that is all too common in a directionless jam (the lengthy 10-minute title track). 

But more often than not, Real Emotional Trash works with Malkmus’s signature jangly guitar sound still ringing true. And while the music hints at a different direction than Malkmus has taken in the past, it is more reminiscent of his glory days with indie-rock gods Pavement than any thing he has done recently. And that is a good thing.

Real Emotional Trash is out now on Matador Records.