Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Real Emotional Trash

With his re-tooled Jicks, Stephen Malkmus writes his least self-conscious album, finally justifying the demise of the influential band that made his name. One of Pavement’s greatest hindrances on Malkmus was his feeling shackled by the band’s supposed limitations, which seems baffling given the myriad directions he led them in. Over three fine solo albums, there were hints as to Malkmus’s true muse, yet on Real Emotional Trash, it all comes spilling out with glorious abandon. With drummer Janet Weiss now providing some thunder down under, the Jicks are at their freest and Malkmus oversees a gorgeous, classic rock-influenced, art riff guitar record. The lyrics on "Hopscotch Willie” and the title track are playful but Malkmus has always been underestimated as a lyricist and singer, and he’s in sharp form in both departments. Where the record sprawls defiantly on "Out of Reaches,” it’s tightly poetic on "We Can’t Help You,” with Malkmus balancing his fey sensibilities with his inner Sabbath and CCR. If Real Emotional Trash is any indication of the Jicks’s future, those Pavement reunion rumours are the least exciting musical option for Stephen Malkmus. (Matador)