1 (edited by caustic resin 2018-05-04 06:01:53)

Topic: Sparkle Hard reviews

http://diymag.com/reviews/album

Whether in the game-changing, intelligently-skewed slackerism of Pavement or in his slightly more melodically fleshed-out work with the Jicks, Stephen Malkmus has spent the last 25 years making the weird and esoteric strangely accessible. On ‘Sparkle Hard’ he doesn’t reinvent his own wheel but keeps it turning over with a seemingly never-ending well of ideas. ‘Bike Lane’ lands on the more abrasive end of the spectrum, a brilliantly dirgy riff underpinning lyrics about the death of police-murdered Freddie Gray; ‘Kite’ is a squelching, nearly-seven minute jam; ‘Solid Silk’ is a hazy, Real Estate-y caress interspersed with wistful strings. It’s all executed with the same kind of effortless charm that’s characterised Malkmus’ entire career. Long may it continue. 4/5

From Halifax, N.S.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

caustic resin wrote:

http://diymag.com/reviews/albumLong may it continue.

Hear, hear!

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

Metacritic has blurbs from three more reviews, in Mojo, Uncut and Q Magazine. All favorable.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

https://www.rollingstone.de/reviews/ste … rkle-hard/

Als Sänger, Gitarrist und Posterboy von Pavement hat Stephen Malkmus in den Neunzigern fünf wundervolle Alben gemacht. „Wig Out At Jagbags“ war 2014 das fünfte Album, das er mit seiner Begleitgruppe The Jicks aufnahm (und sein sechstes Post-Pavement-Album).

Und irgendwie hatte man das Gefühl, auch diese Band wäre damit an ihr Ende gekommen: Die alten Tricks zogen nicht mehr. Womöglich hat er es selbst gemerkt. Vielleicht sind deshalb vier Jahre vergangen bis zum, wie der Titel es schon nahelegt, heftig prickelnden neuen Werk.

Neu erfunden haben er und die Jicks sich nicht für diese Platte, das ist immer noch spleenige Gitarrenmusik mit Anleihen bei Kraut- und Classic Rock. Aber die Songs sind konziser und abwechslungsreicher, werden mit vertrackten Gesangsharmonien, Streichern, Synthesizern, Akustikgitarren und Fiddle koloriert, und im countryesken, entfernt an den Pavement-Hit„Range Life“ erinnernden „Refute“ singt sogar Kim Gordon eine Strophe. Macht wieder Spaß. (Domino)

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

https://www.slantmagazine.com/music/rev … arkle-hard


Stephen Malkmus's seventh album, Sparkle Hard, makes overtures toward a level of tonal maturity not often heard from the former Pavement frontman, whose cavalier wordplay and lackadaisical Cali accent still sometimes make him sound like an overgrown teenager, even at 51. Malkmus has been prone to juxtaposing tasteful pop songs with classic-rock elements and offbeat lyrics since Slanted and Enchanted, and the audible delight he still takes in such musical mischief is apparent throughout Sparkle Hard.

This is obvious right from the get-go with “Cast Off,” the first instance of Malkmus opening an album with a tender-sounding ballad since Wowee Zowee's “We Dance.” But just as Malkmus threw a wrench into that Pavement classic's stately tone with his most absurdist set of lyrics, he opts for subversion on “Cast Off” with a lonesome piano motif that sounds like it was played by a child fresh off of learning “Chopsticks” for the first time.

For Stephen Malkmus, being a mature artist and an irreverent goofball aren't mutually exclusive.

Malkmus pulls a similar bait and switch with the closing track, “Difficulties – Let Them Eat Vowels.” For three minutes, it's a lovely ballad with a tumbling refrain that's lyrically nonsensical but is melodically as beautiful and cathartic as anything he's written in recent years. Then it morphs into a lightweight, wah-wah guitar-heavy jam. While this latter twist does undercut what would have been a very emotionally satisfying finale, both songs are heartening testaments to Malkmus's enduring playfulness.

Which is why it's so disarming when he does play it almost completely straight on Sparkle Hard's lead single, “Middle America.” A soft-pop strummer in the tradition of “Major Leagues” and “Here,” it not only boasts one of Malkmus's most sublime melodies, it's probably the closest Malkmus is ever going to come to a confessional song. When he sings, “Time gets to me and I/The heir apparent just might try,” it sounds like Malkmus is grappling with getting older, while the second chorus sees him putting some of the wisdom he's learned from that process into words: “Men are scum, I won't deny/May you be shitfaced the day you die/And be successful in all your lies/In the wintertime.”

That might sound flippant by most singer-songwriters' standards, but coming from Malkmus, it feels uncommonly sincere. Of course, the very next song, “Rattler,” is an Auto-Tuned novelty, just another reminder that for Malkmus, being a mature artist and an irreverent goofball aren't mutually exclusive.

I self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to help treat my extreme social anxiety.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

JackStark211 wrote:

https://www.slantmagazine.com/music/rev … arkle-hard


Stephen Malkmus's seventh album, Sparkle Hard, makes overtures toward a level of tonal maturity not often heard from the former Pavement frontman, whose cavalier wordplay and lackadaisical Cali accent still sometimes make him sound like an overgrown teenager, even at 51. Malkmus has been prone to juxtaposing tasteful pop songs with classic-rock elements and offbeat lyrics since Slanted and Enchanted, and the audible delight he still takes in such musical mischief is apparent throughout Sparkle Hard.

This is obvious right from the get-go with “Cast Off,” the first instance of Malkmus opening an album with a tender-sounding ballad since Wowee Zowee's “We Dance.” But just as Malkmus threw a wrench into that Pavement classic's stately tone with his most absurdist set of lyrics, he opts for subversion on “Cast Off” with a lonesome piano motif that sounds like it was played by a child fresh off of learning “Chopsticks” for the first time.

For Stephen Malkmus, being a mature artist and an irreverent goofball aren't mutually exclusive.

Malkmus pulls a similar bait and switch with the closing track, “Difficulties – Let Them Eat Vowels.” For three minutes, it's a lovely ballad with a tumbling refrain that's lyrically nonsensical but is melodically as beautiful and cathartic as anything he's written in recent years. Then it morphs into a lightweight, wah-wah guitar-heavy jam. While this latter twist does undercut what would have been a very emotionally satisfying finale, both songs are heartening testaments to Malkmus's enduring playfulness.

Which is why it's so disarming when he does play it almost completely straight on Sparkle Hard's lead single, “Middle America.” A soft-pop strummer in the tradition of “Major Leagues” and “Here,” it not only boasts one of Malkmus's most sublime melodies, it's probably the closest Malkmus is ever going to come to a confessional song. When he sings, “Time gets to me and I/The heir apparent just might try,” it sounds like Malkmus is grappling with getting older, while the second chorus sees him putting some of the wisdom he's learned from that process into words: “Men are scum, I won't deny/May you be shitfaced the day you die/And be successful in all your lies/In the wintertime.”

That might sound flippant by most singer-songwriters' standards, but coming from Malkmus, it feels uncommonly sincere. Of course, the very next song, “Rattler,” is an Auto-Tuned novelty, just another reminder that for Malkmus, being a mature artist and an irreverent goofball aren't mutually exclusive.

Not a bad review. But oddly, one that doesn't mention even once that his band is called The Jicks, or that it's the Jicks's 7th release. For a rag seeking Patreon support I call that lazy journalism and even poorer fact checking and editing. I mean, not one sentence of context?

But otherwise it was a pithy, positive piece.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

http://www.treblezine.com/reviews/steph … -the-week/

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

Now that one? That was superbly well done. Bravo Wesley Whitacre, you're a darn fine writer!

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

There are a bunch now.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

https://www.thelineofbestfit.com/review … -is-on-the

Nearly two decades since the last Pavement record, Stephen Malkmus is on the form of his career.

You’ve not come here to be told who or what the titular Malkmus has done previously, right? You just want to see a liberal sprinkling of your favourite adjectives, which may include (but are not limited to): woolly, chilled, relaxed, cool. Also maybe the odd “vibe” and a “slacker” or two, right?

Cool. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks’ new record, Sparkle Hard, is all of that and so much more. The last couple of Jicks records – Mirror Traffic and Wig Out at Jagbags – were both minor masterpieces that came close to equalling the work Malkmus had previously done with his other band. Wig Out was particularly impressive thanks to its rhythmic dynamism (“Lariat” in particular) and increasingly focused songwriting.

There are jams, cheesy synth sounds that were never hip, laid-back vibes and slacker poetry – and proggy moments that evoke Queen (“Cast Off”), tightly coiled guitars (“Future Suite”), '80s Dead-isms propped up with a string section (“Solid Silk”). It’s also fairly brilliant.

The fun continues throughout Sparkle Hard: there’s a comically jarring moment when “Bike Lane” opens up sounding like a vibraphone-less version of Edwyn Collins’ “A Girl Like You”, before Malkmus rights the ship – and refashions the riff into something resembling hog-riding biker rock. Only it’s presumably about bicycles. The barroom glam of the chorus is a winner, too.

The staccato rhythm and autotune foolery of “Rattler” is another signature Malkmusian stunt that he actually manages to pull off – primarily due to the searing lead guitar ripping the shit out of everything. It also helps that the autotune is less Top 40 and more Commodore 64.

The fuzzy blast of “Shiggy” (an album highlight) and the Dylan-esque flavours of “Refute” are equally thrilling. Especially when fucking Kim Gordon shows up to add a bit of glamour to the record.

On this form, Stephen Malkmus really can do no wrong. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a time when he’s ever been involved in anything that was less than excellent, never mind average. Sparkle Hard continues this unfeasibly strong run he’s been on and adds a little more bang for your buck. He’s now released one more album with The Jicks than he did with Pavement, and he’s showed no signs of letting up. This album is just another jewel in his jauntily-angled crown.

Thank God for Stephen Malkmus, and may we all sparkle hard. 8.5/10

From Halifax, N.S.

11 (edited by kate h 2018-05-15 17:49:38)

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

caustic resin wrote:

https://www.thelineofbestfit.com/review … -is-on-the

Nearly two decades since the last Pavement record, Stephen Malkmus is on the form of his career.

You’ve not come here to be told who or what the titular Malkmus has done previously, right? You just want to see a liberal sprinkling of your favourite adjectives, which may include (but are not limited to): woolly, chilled, relaxed, cool. Also maybe the odd “vibe” and a “slacker” or two, right?

Cool. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks’ new record, Sparkle Hard, is all of that and so much more. The last couple of Jicks records – Mirror Traffic and Wig Out at Jagbags – were both minor masterpieces that came close to equalling the work Malkmus had previously done with his other band. Wig Out was particularly impressive thanks to its rhythmic dynamism (“Lariat” in particular) and increasingly focused songwriting.

There are jams, cheesy synth sounds that were never hip, laid-back vibes and slacker poetry – and proggy moments that evoke Queen (“Cast Off”), tightly coiled guitars (“Future Suite”), '80s Dead-isms propped up with a string section (“Solid Silk”). It’s also fairly brilliant.

The fun continues throughout Sparkle Hard: there’s a comically jarring moment when “Bike Lane” opens up sounding like a vibraphone-less version of Edwyn Collins’ “A Girl Like You”, before Malkmus rights the ship – and refashions the riff into something resembling hog-riding biker rock. Only it’s presumably about bicycles. The barroom glam of the chorus is a winner, too.

The staccato rhythm and autotune foolery of “Rattler” is another signature Malkmusian stunt that he actually manages to pull off – primarily due to the searing lead guitar ripping the shit out of everything. It also helps that the autotune is less Top 40 and more Commodore 64.

The fuzzy blast of “Shiggy” (an album highlight) and the Dylan-esque flavours of “Refute” are equally thrilling. Especially when fucking Kim Gordon shows up to add a bit of glamour to the record.

On this form, Stephen Malkmus really can do no wrong. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a time when he’s ever been involved in anything that was less than excellent, never mind average. Sparkle Hard continues this unfeasibly strong run he’s been on and adds a little more bang for your buck. He’s now released one more album with The Jicks than he did with Pavement, and he’s showed no signs of letting up. This album is just another jewel in his jauntily-angled crown.

Thank God for Stephen Malkmus, and may we all sparkle hard. 8.5/10

Thrashtastic!  Now that guy went to the Kate H School of Journalism, aka, K Schull J Skool.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

https://consequenceofsound.net/2018/05/ … rkle-hard/

From Halifax, N.S.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

https://northerntransmissions.com/album … rkle-hard/

https://www.loudandquiet.com/reviews/st … rkle-hard/

From Halifax, N.S.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

the first one gets me hyped

the second one aggravates

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

realmac wrote:

the first one gets me hyped

the second one aggravates


I just laugh at that shit. I'm happy to consider critical reviews if they have something smart to say or offer a news perspective. This thing has nothing to add to the game. Negative Fluff stuff, in my opinion.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

https://www.popmatters.com/stephen-malk … 18007.html

I just listened to the record for the first time and this review seems to really nail the album, in my opinion.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

https://exclaim.ca/music/article/stephe … arkle_hard

https://www.allmusic.com/album/sparkle- … 0003168413

From Halifax, N.S.

18 (edited by Particlenoun 2018-05-17 12:34:37)

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

Has this been posted yet?  A fantastic article that gives the most information yet on the electronic album!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl … 8b933b0b47


Edit:  It's in the other thread too, but maybe good to have it here too, all in one place.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

realmac wrote:

the first one gets me hyped

the second one aggravates

RE: loud and Quiet
Has anyone else noticed a "continued evaporation of Malkmus` edge and urgency.."? nope me neither
Plus absolutely pointless Jicks vs Pavement non anology, Very irritating indeed!

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

Particlenoun wrote:

Has this been posted yet?  A fantastic article that gives the most information yet on the electronic album!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl … 8b933b0b47


Edit:  It's in the other thread too, but maybe good to have it here too, all in one place.

I have high hopes for this. I believe he will pull off something special, or at worst something  interesting/inventive/cool/dorky. I can`t wait to hear `Groove Denied`!!

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

Me too.  I'm almost more excited for that than Sparkle Hard....Almost.

22

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

the inevitable: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/ste … rkle-hard/

appears to be their best score since FTT (i guess they didn't bother reviewing s/t or pig lib?), but not quite high enough for best new music designation

the boy your mother wanted you to meet

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

bob wrote:

the inevitable: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/ste … rkle-hard/

appears to be their best score since FTT (i guess they didn't bother reviewing s/t or pig lib?), but not quite high enough for best new music designation

I found their s/t review under Stephen Malkmus (no Jicks). They definitely did review Pig Lib; not sure why they would've removed it. The closing line said something about indie rockers rejoicing with the return of their prince or something.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

I hate that I know this, but it's because Pitchfork fell out with a writer and deleted all his articles, including the Pig Lib review. It's why the 10/10 review of the Slanted & Enchanted 2CD release has vanished, too.

Re: Sparkle Hard reviews

kenickie wrote:

I hate that I know this, but it's because Pitchfork fell out with a writer and deleted all his articles, including the Pig Lib review. It's why the 10/10 review of the Slanted & Enchanted 2CD release has vanished, too.

Seems like a bizarre thing to do. Now I'm (mildly embarrassed to admit I'm) all interested in the sordid details!