First things first. Pavement is done… for the meantime. Since then, ex-frontman Stephen Malkmus wrote and recorded this eponymous solo debut in the cozy and cloudy city of Portland, Oregon. With the help of an all-new rhythm section, but with the same rambling song structures that made him and his former bandmates indie darlings, Malkmus has finally become a free spirit. The driving opener “Black Book,” with such hooky chords and chorus, sets the record off on a disjointed trek, where only Malkmus knows the final destination.
Although “slacker-rock” may seem a bit too narrow-minded and redundant term, it’s one that Stephen Malkmus’ music can’t help but evoke in the listener. The lackadaisical and distorted twang of “Church on White” recalls the more introspective songs of his past, but with slightly more grandeur. Few times, the variety of rhythms experimented with falter, but just as you’re quizzical expressions form, Malkmus lulls you and entertains you simultaneously with his ultra-catchy melodies, extended instrumental support and trademark bent lyricism. This debut will be a welcome treat for weeping Pavement fans and indie-rockers alike, but perhaps not the best introduction to Malkmus’ songwriting talents.