Malkmus & the Jicks in Ferndale
The opening track’s guitars have a spacey-sounding warble lilted over a marching beat and they matche the timbre of our vocalist’s verse as it shuffles in its sing-speak delivery in a tone far from perfect or pretty, but cool and inviting, nonetheless. Stephen Malkmus doesn’t have a polished voice for pop music just as his guitar doesn’t have quite the celestial-sounding abstractions for psychedelic-rock music – and yet both elements successfully masquerade as those respective tropes.
Essentially, this is a psych-rock record that’s not quite a psych-rock record, written with an ear bent-towards baroque-pop and loungey ballads by a songwriter most still think of as an aloof-ish indie-rocker rehashing his days from the 90’s fronting post-Internet hipster icons Pavement. Not so.
For those loungey ballads we mentioned, with synths, sleepy brass and blanketing organs, see: “J Smooth.” For weird takes o n psych-rock, with willowy bass grooves and scratching guitars, see: “Shibboleth.” For smooth baroque-pop, with jangling guitars and breezy melodies and catchy choruses, see: “Lariat.”
The victory and defeat ofWig Out is that it sounds cool, too cool. Or, rather, a bit too confident – as though Malkmus is content to say, sing, or try-out anything, however flaky or overly satirical-sounding, (“We grew up listening to the music from the best decade ever / talkin’ bout the Eight-dee-dee’s.”)Certain vocal exertions and effects-soaked guitar solos are a bit lofty, but then, that’s inherent to Malkmus’ psychedelic inclinations. Sure, he’s comfortable and confident here, but the joke might be on you if you take him too seriously: “We’re returning to our roots / No new material just cowboy boots,” he melodically rambles on “Rumble At The Rainbo,” where he winks fellow worshipers of legendary punk-rock to come on back, nothing’s changed “and no one will.” Malkmus has changed, considerably. This is what it sounds like…
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks perform on Feb 21st at the Loving Touch (22634 Woodward in Ferndale) with Dissapears. 8pm – $20 – more info: thelovingtouchferndale.com