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July 25, 2024

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Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Dark Wave EP (Domino)

By: Cam Lindsay

Though he's just put out a brand new album, Stephen Malkmus has another batch of songs ready for release. Pig Lib's first single "Dark Wave" is backed by a whopping five tracks, compared to the usual two. "Dark Wave" the lead track, is Malkmus at his most playful and weirdest, but it's the b-side that are the highlights here. "Dynamic Calories" is a nostalgic 80s throwback that visits New Order, Echo & The Bunnymen and Sonic Youth, all at the same time, successfully. "Fractions & Feelings" is one of his best moments since he left the mighty Pavement. Country-tinged and full of melody, it's a comfortable song that seems to fill the void that's been missing. "Old Jerry" is a little perplexing, with a mid-tempo, depressing vibe, it struggles to get good. The two remaining tracks are both live ones. "The Poet & The Witch" a cover of the old Mellow Candle song, is a very energetic display of The Jicks performing abilities. "Shake It Around", again, is an upbeat number that doesn't disappoint, showing off Malkmus' excellent technique on the guitar. For fans of SM and The Jicks, this release is a no-brainer. B+
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