Fans of Pavement have been clearly divided on their opinions of lead singer Stephen Malkmus' post-Pavement material. Half accept their hero following his muse. The other half hopes in vain for another Wowee Zowee or Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.
Malkmus' fourth solo record, Real Emotional Trash, won't do anything to change the hopes of the latter group, but it's nonetheless a fun ride, full of Malkmus' trademark whimsical melodies and guitar skronk—it's tailor-made for some mythical outdoor amphitheater full of pot smoke and blue lasers. The druggy "Dragonfly Pie" benefits from the heavy foot of new drummer Janet Weiss (formerly of Sleater-Kinney) and a typically humorous chorus ("Shake me off the knife because I want to go home!"), while the lazy summer "bah-bah-bah" of "Gardenia" actually do hearken back to Pavement's glory days, name-checking both Richard Avedon and Afrikaners along the way.
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We're pretty sure, however, that the live show highlight will come with the glorious, 10-minute title track of the disc, which conjures both Television and the Dead in a winding guitar freakout that's sure to get the light technicians at the Granada really, really excited.