Boomkat Product Review:
Since Stephen Malkmus' last solo outing, his post-Pavement backing band has racked up a few bonus points in the indie rock league tables, having acquired drummer Janet Weiss, famously of Sleater Kinney and Quasi. Real Emotional Trash sure packs a rhythm section wallop too, as amply demonstrated by the thunderous stoner rock rifferama during the verses of "Dragonfly Pie', which thumps along fuzzily right through to the typically whimsical, vintage Malkmus chorus. The tone of the album is very much set in these opening moments: it's a marriage of extended, muscular acid rock that manages to rein itself in for a sufficiently prolonged period to drop in all the requisite tunes and leftfield poetry we love this guy for. Three tracks in and the album tightens up nicely for a concise blast of downbeat pop genius in the shape of 'Cold Son', a real heartstring tugger, and one of the very finest post-Pavement songs in the Malkmus canon. Continuing in a similar vein is 'Out Of Reaches', delving into a winsome melancholy worthy of a slot on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain... well, maybe. There's a finely tuned balance between Real Emotional Trash's grungy, sloppy instrumentation and the tight, effective melodic wrangling that goes on within Malkmus' writing. Sometimes it's that balancing act that prevents Malkmus' jauntier lyrical departures from coming across as fey or excessively indulgent in their trifling surrealism, and on this album, possibly more than any of his other solo efforts, the hard rocking edge goes beyond compensating for lyrical flights of fancy, instead mirroring those offbeat trajectories, sounding fully synergised on the epic title cut. The liner notes are emblazoned with the only partially decipherable slogan: "The Jicks is funky music they's a powerhouse", a statement that holds some truth.