What happens when you let Beck produce an album by Malkmus and the Jicks? Wowee Zowee part deux, apparently. Fans of the beloved 1995 Pavement disc will rejoice at the haphazard, attention-deficit feel of Mirror Traffic. The loose aura, combined with the seasoned playing of the Jicks makes for one entertaining album.
Surprisingly, the disc came across as a bit of a disappointment early on. I missed the extended jams from 2008's rollicking Real Emotional Trash. The second half of Mirror Traffic is what really sold me on the album. What it lacks in epic guitar solos it more than makes up for in memorable hooks.
"Asking Price" moves along at a mellow pace a la classic Pavement track "Grounded." "Spazz" and "Tune Grief" both display a hyperactive side that has been missing from most of Malkmus's output since Brighten the Corners. Also of note is "Gorgeous Georgie," which strikes the perfect balance between pop sensibilities and a sneaky guitar solo. It's not often that a five-minute song breezes by so quickly.
Beck's production on this disc is worthy of accolades as well. His secret weapons here are subtle effects (especially on vocals) at key moments. It may have arrived about 15 years later than expected, but the collaboration of Malkmus and Beck was worth the wait.
- Album: Mirror Traffic
- Artist: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
- Label: Matador
- Songs: (1) Tigers (2) No One Is (As I Are Be) (3) Senator (4) Brain Gallop (5) Jumblegloss (6) Asking Price (7) Stick Figures in Love (8) Spazz (9) Long Hard Book (10) Share the Red (11) Tune Grief (12) Forever 28 (13) All Over Gently (14) Fall Away (15) Gorgeous Georgie