10

Believe the truth

This is Stephen Malkmus' third solo LP and as ever it's a lyrically dense, and at times unfathomable excursion into the mind of the ex-Pavement front man. Freewheeling between styles with ease and in the process mocking the staid, one dimensional music that passes for modern American rock music, it's an album that isnít afraid of striking out with experimentation to take risks, be it with the introduction of overt electronics or the use of the banjo.

The S&M infused 'Pencil Rot' is a supreme chaotic riot. Spiky electronics merge with effects laden guitars to produce a disjointed piece of sideways pop perfection. Along the way it takes a shot at the sadistic nature of careerism : "I'm here to sing a song about privilege, the spikes you put on your feet when you were crawling and dancing to the top of the human shit pile". Itís the LP'S best moment.

'It Kills' is cutting edge subdued banjo experimentation of the highest order sliced through with soaring guitar chords, kind of like Tom Verlaine dreamt into the film Deliverance via Valium. 'I've Hardly Been' heads off in another direction with a rhythm that conjures up visions of The Addams Family and "the abilty to locate quagmire hearts on the map". 'Freeze The Saints' is more plaintive and straightforward, and illustrates Malkmus' talent for classic songwriting.

'No Man's Shoes' clocks in at 8 mins and runs the gauntlet of prog mockery but thankfully pulls off the feat of not becoming self indulgent or boring over its length. 'Mama' has a joyful twinkling guitar strum and a strange glam rock feel. 'Kindling For The Master' is just strange: "I was shot for meat and left alone with a crow". 'Post-Paint Boy' is an acoustic affair with the weediest, hilarious cry of "Yep!" you're ever likely to hear and 'Baby c'mon' brings a 3 min pop gem to proceedings.

Malkmus' unique gift for finding hooks in the most stop-start of rhythms that tumble and fold back in on themselves with every turn is still very much present and correct here. And this LP cements his reputation further as one of the most interesting and unique voices operating in music today. If you're looking for something thatís off the beaten track and a record that doesnít take the obvious route you could do worse than to seek this out.