An Honest Delight
Stephen Malkmus, lead singer of the irreverent lo-fi indie-rock band, Pavement, began his solo career with an enjoyable self-titled debut. He then proceeded to follow up that album with a lackluster effort entitled Pig Lib. Thankfully, his third offering, the wonderful Face the Truth, manages to re-kindle the magic of those endearing Pavement records. Here, Malkmus truly demonstrates his gift for crafting memorable ditties, and his fondness for exploring new musical terrain.The fuzz-drenched guitars and slippery synths of â€šÃ„ÃºPencil Riotâ€šÃ„Ã¹ give the album a trippy, highly danceable jump start. Its musical cousin, â€šÃ„ÃºIâ€šÃ„Ã´ve Hardly Beenâ€šÃ„Ã¹ collapses and reforms right before your ears creating a funky, yet fractured delight. â€šÃ„ÃºFreeze the Saintsâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is a sparkling ballad with gorgeous slide-guitar melodies and humble vocals that only reiterates Malkmusâ€šÃ„Ã´ unbridled talent as a songwriter. The poignant, image-laden â€šÃ„ÃºMamaâ€šÃ„Ã¹ may be one of the singerâ€šÃ„Ã´s finest moments ever committed to record. His voice blends exquisitely into the music as he romanticizes about vivid childhood daydreams. On â€šÃ„ÃºBaby Câ€šÃ„Ã´Mon,â€šÃ„Ã¹ Malkmus is at his most energetic as he creates a jagged, uplifting anthem that owes more to the Velvet Underground than to Pavement. The organs swirl, the guitars grind, and the drums push things along with a smile-inducing stupor.
Face the Truth showcases what Stephen Malkmus is truly capable of in his post-Pavement years. He is still eager to experiment and deliver screwball lyrics, i.e., â€šÃ„ÃºThereâ€šÃ„Ã´s a villain in my head and heâ€šÃ„Ã´s giving me shocks/Save me from me.â€šÃ„Ã¹ At the same time, however, he understands how to write a simple and heart-felt song. There is no doubt that this album will fit snug alongside your favorite Pavement albums.