Growing up in rural East Texas, I was just cool enough to know who Pavement was, but just far enough removed from a decent record store to never have had one of their albums. Yes, this was before everything was available with a click of the mouse. However, while listening to Stephen Malkmus' latest release, a sense of familiarity overcame me as I heard the sound that influenced so many of the bands that filled my formative years. That's not to say Mirror Traffic is predictable: Just as Malkmus lulls you in with his bouncy and upbeat tempos, the rug is pulled from underfoot as chord progressions and tempo take unexpected left turns. The sonic harmony of "Stick Figures in Love" stutters with the echoing charm of a teletyped love letter between robots. "Share the Red" is a fusion of blues and lo-fi guitar that toys with its riff like a fishing line, while "Forever 28" prances with the confidence of a child stomping on block buildings. This is his fifth album with the Jicks and it is evident Malkmus has comfortably moved beyond his Pavement past and continues to develop the sound he trailblazed years ago.
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