STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS
Tickets $47.95 (Incl. BF) click ‘Buy Tickets’ | also available from Planet, Star Surf & Skate, Mills, 78 Records & Live Clothing Stores.
LA Times “Traffic is a handy metaphor for the album; it's a gorgeously orchestrated mess.”
Mojo “Everything you could want from a wizard, a true non-star”
Because of diversion of the utterly fantastic PAVEMENT world tour of 2010, it is not since 2009 that we have had the pleasure of the company of Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks in Australia.
We have, however, had the pleasure of the 2011 release of the excellent Mirror Traffic album, a split 7” with LA Guns and other recorded delights to keep us going until now when they FINALLY pack the ultra long distance suitcases, keep the liquids in their carry-on luggage under 100ml and head to Australia for their 2012 Mirror Traffic Tour. Hooray!
Mirror Traffic was recorded at LA's Sunset Sound Studios and at the home of the album's producer, Beck and has been rated by many as a career best and their most energized set to date. The 15 songs range from hard-rocking political commentary ("Senator"), to touching, winsome folk ("No One Is"), to virtuosic but melancholy and contrite kiwi pop ("Stick Figures In Love"). The lyrics are as curious as ever but more meaningful than they have been since Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. "This record," concedes Malkmus dryly, "is relatively approachable."
As the first producer to work with Malkmus since Pavement, Beck has drawn out a set of performances that ring with clarity and inventiveness. Gone are the long guitar workouts and jams that marked the last couple Jicks albums, replaced with a sharply defined focus and more colorful depth of field. With nearly half the tracks clocking in under three minutes, Mirror Traffic flashes by with a lightness of touch; a decision that band and producer found easy to take: "Beck & I were both burned out on the heavy rocking style," says Malkmus, "and playing to the strengths of a melody felt like the way to go."
For someone who has occasionally enjoyed a reputation for throwing ideas into the air and seeing where they land, Mirror Traffic is a confident, heartfelt, direct record and it feels great to a genius in full flight.