11 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With Pavement in his rearview mirror, Stephen Malkmus forms a new group that’s much more comfortable with serving the songs he writes. For most songwriters this would seem a logical improvement, but one of Malkmus’ and Pavement’s strengths was the ability to wrestle order from the chaos, to invigorate the tried and true formulas with elements of surprise. Call them mistakes, but they were effective mistakes. Pig Lib is Malkmus’ second post-Pavement album and much of it (“Ramp of Death,” “Vanessa From Queens”) could pass for early ‘70s soft rock if it weren’t for the slightly animated rhythm section.  When he does score one for progressive rock “(Do Not Feed the) Oyster,” it’s with a pleasurable lope that builds to a slightly more aggressive climax. There are no crazy leaps here besides the extended jam of “1% of One” where Malkmus gets to work out his guitar hero dreams. Just the sounds of an intelligent, well-oiled group anticipating each other’s moves. Like many successful singers in popular rock bands, the solo work provides personal insights but sacrifices the elusive, magical chemistry that made the band a one-of-a-kind experience.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With Pavement in his rearview mirror, Stephen Malkmus forms a new group that’s much more comfortable with serving the songs he writes. For most songwriters this would seem a logical improvement, but one of Malkmus’ and Pavement’s strengths was the ability to wrestle order from the chaos, to invigorate the tried and true formulas with elements of surprise. Call them mistakes, but they were effective mistakes. Pig Lib is Malkmus’ second post-Pavement album and much of it (“Ramp of Death,” “Vanessa From Queens”) could pass for early ‘70s soft rock if it weren’t for the slightly animated rhythm section.  When he does score one for progressive rock “(Do Not Feed the) Oyster,” it’s with a pleasurable lope that builds to a slightly more aggressive climax. There are no crazy leaps here besides the extended jam of “1% of One” where Malkmus gets to work out his guitar hero dreams. Just the sounds of an intelligent, well-oiled group anticipating each other’s moves. Like many successful singers in popular rock bands, the solo work provides personal insights but sacrifices the elusive, magical chemistry that made the band a one-of-a-kind experience.

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