Coming off a triumphant year of Pavement reunion shows, Stephen Malkmus returned to the studio with Beck to produce his fifth solo album, Mirror Traffic.
This is his most accessible album since Pavement, early press reactions are already calling this gorgeous, crystalline production “the album we’ve been waiting 10 years for him to make,” and it certainly contains the most heartfelt and indelible songs he’s written in years.
Gone are the long guitar workouts and jams that marked the last couple of Jicks albums, replaced by incredibly catchy and endearing pop songs.
Recorded in Beck’s studio over a period of two years, the 15-track album ranges from hard-rocking political commentary (“Senator”), to touching, winsome folk (“No One Is”), to astonishingly virtuosic but melancholy and contrite kiwi pop (“Stick Figures In Love”). The sonics are stunningly clear and impactful, while the lyrics are as inventive as ever but more meaningful than they have been since Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.