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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You're a gardenia, 25 Mar 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Real Emotional Trash (Audio CD)
Ever since Pavement broke up, Stephen Malkmus has just gotten odder and odder. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

And he really doesn't disappoint in his fourth full-length solo album with the Jicks, "Real Emotional Trash," which strikes a brilliant balance between the sounds of "Pig Lib" and "Face the Truth." Malkmus preserves his insane lyrics and fuzz-freakery, but wraps them around some gloriously eccentric psychedelic rock songs.

It opens with a dark, sludgy bassline, festooned in buzzing riffs, with Malkmus droning wearily, "Of all my stoned digressions/Some have mutated into the truth." But the slow grimy grinds suddenly speeds up... and melts away into a sublime little pop melody ("Taken with pride like a dragonfly/dragonfly wants a piece of pie!") that alternates between stoner riffs and delightfully sunny harmonium melodies.

The title track is a ten-minute bounce of peppy, sputtering guitar rock split by a drowsy, ringing expanse, and fading out to a meandering little guitar melody, as if he were falling asleep at the strings.

But he hasn't, because it's just the start of a whole new string of songs -- quirky buzzy pop, loopy little experimental rockers, and a lot of meandering rock'n'roll with fuzzy hard edges and drips of keyboard. It finishes up with two really delicious little songs -- the sunny shimmers of "We Can't Help You" and the intimate psychfolky sound of "Wicked Wanda."

When listening to a Stephen Malkmus album, I'm never entirely sure what he's crafting. "Real Emotional Trash" happily wobbles between pop epic, experimental concept album, and quirky indie fuzz-rocker without committing to any one sound, and Malkmus does a pretty solid job interweaving them together. This is very much his style, but striking a balance between quirk and listener-friendliness.

And he mostly sticks to what has worked for him in the past -- pleasantly meandering rockers and peppy pop, given some odd edges. His ringing guitar riffs are simply astounding, twisting and stretching beyond what you'd think the instrument could manage -- along with the Jicks' flexible instrumentation. The instrumentation is a fluid, glorious stream of piano, drumming, fuzz bass and rippling hollow keyboard, as in the beautiful opening of "We Can't Help You."

Don't worry, he doesn't just retread. There are some psychedelic twists here and there, while "Elmo Delmo" and the title track both have stretches of spacey, buzzy prog-rock in the middle. While not as accessible as the straightforward rockers, they're still pretty brilliant.

And Malkmus genuinely sounds like he's having fun, as his mellow voice darts in and out of the music. He can be murmuring one minute, and then yowl out at the listener the next. And as expected, his lyrics are really weird and nonsensical, but with some very clever moments here and there ("Who is in the sand?/the world is my oyster/I feel like a nympho stuck in a cloister"). Chuckle.

The title of "Real Emotional Trash" might give you the wrong idea, because Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks' latest is anything but trash. It's polished, weird, and very endearing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great songs, great playing but..., 18 Mar 2008
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Real Emotional Trash (Audio CD)
I suppose the "frailty" of Malkmus's voice is part of his charm but it really stops this album from being a 5 star beezer for me. The songs are multi layered and melodic yet have jagged edges especially when he wigs out on his geetar! The lyrics are predictably sharp and wacky on occasion so some times it all comes together splendidly and Cold Sun especially hits the mark.

A grower
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5.0 out of 5 stars Indie, psychrock- whatever, 17 April 2008
By 
T. Chase "hyperbowl" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Real Emotional Trash (Audio CD)
I get slightly peeved when people talk/write about malkmus and say 'uuuh he doesn't fit into this preordained box that ive chosen for him'. He's just a musician. I'm a massive fan of his voice and lyrics, but in most other ways I concur with another reviewer on here who said this album was the first malkmus album he liked. I guess he/she, for example, realises that it doesn't really matter that he was in a ridiculously hyped band that got a genre made up for them, however good they were. Now he's in a different band and they rock.

I would however say to people that the lyrics and singing are a huge grower. the first line- 'of all my stoned digressions, some have mutated into the truth', is meaningful whether you're a student or not and sets the tone for the whole album.

The band's great and he shreds like hell.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best album of all time ... not kidding, 4 Jan 2013
By 
Mark Wilsher - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real Emotional Trash (Audio CD)
I love Steve Malkmus & Pavement. I am a huge fan, and have been for twenty years now.

SM's solo career (with the Jicks) started in a mellow vein, but has developed in an interesting manner. No longer tied to a group of sometimes laddish beer-drinking guys in their 20s, he is free to be the muso he always secretly was.

This album is hands down his best work, either with Pavement or not. Great band, great set of songs, great performances, great emotional range. More complex than the earlier solo albums, less afraid to rock out. But always with fantastic songwriting and amazing style.

It has become my favourite album by any artist... and stayed that way. Thankyou Malkmus for this truly brilliant set of tracks. Honestly, it's right up there with Rumours, Arise Therefore and Isn't Anything!

Buy it and enjoy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Jicks' Nostalgic Classic, 11 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Real Emotional Trash (Audio CD)
Real Emotional Trash possesses a cool cover with a tiny yellow bird, which, although tiny, always reminds me of Big Bird and my childhood watching Sesame Street. There begins Malkmus & the Jicks' lo-fi perspective on the classic rock of the 70s. At its very heart the album contains a perfect triplet of songs.

Cold Son says everything you need to know about Malkmus's genius with a lyric, when he just throws away the line, table bottom gum just holding it together, and in doing so instantly summons up a universal feeling.

Real Emotional Trash narrates, over a ten minute guitar masterclass, a mid-life crisis induced, Kerouac inspired, road-trip in which you cycle through a gentle dinner date with the wife before lurching wildly into to a breakneck drive south of the border prior to pulling up on your driveway with only your bed and a long lie in on your mind.

Out of Reaches is my favourite song by Malkmus for so many reasons, but mainly because of the way he marries the words the voltage was the best thing that I ever knew to a perfect fuzzed-out, trembling guitar line evoking the tragedy of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

A guitar album to cherish with lots of psych twists
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5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the year 2009., 15 Dec 2008
By 
C. VENABLES - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real Emotional Trash (Audio CD)
One word. 70s.

That's more a number than a word I guess...
With an "s" on the end...

Hands down album of the year 2009.

second MMJ - Evil urges
third Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sterling work!, 15 Feb 2008
This review is from: Real Emotional Trash (Audio CD)
Like all Stephen Malkmus work it takes while to get used to the content and to find your way with the album. With every listen I have found a hidden gem within feedback and schreeching guitars.

Amazingly produced and incredibly mature. It is very different to Pavement but just as good.

Enjoy
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Real Emotional Trash
Real Emotional Trash by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks (Audio CD - 2008)
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