Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Wig Out At Jagbags

Wig Out At Jagbags is the sixth album released by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, and while this LP doesn't necessarily push any musical boundaries, it's a fun and playful ride. It's indie music without the dour sensibilities. It's the kind of attitude frequently attributed to youthful exuberance but is often, as in this case, expressed through longevity and maturity. 

The lyrics are humorous and witty. Malkmus' vocals are clean and crisp, which enables him to pull you in to the stories he's telling; he often seems as if he's talking rather than singing to you. The music touches on elements of hazy psychedelia, alt-country and soul, often leaving room for improvisation. This room is created even though the album works in a tighter confine than their previous material.

"Planetary Motion" fuzzes and wails along as the simplistic rhythms of the drums and bass punch the track forward, creating a vast space for exploration. 

"J Smoov" is just that, smoov. Horns softly billow out as the strings snake along, the vocals croon while the guitar guides you through an ethereal experience taking you to that good place. "Chartjunk", my favourite track, also serves up a smooth feel, with a horn section and a groove that really gets the body shaking. It's the kind of track you crave for in a live setting, because you know a part of you will melt during the crescendo. 

"Cinnamon & Lesbians" unapologetically borrows from the Grateful Dead's "St. Stephen", the riff sending us in to a kind of Dead-like jam potential only to be reigned in at the three-minute mark. 

Malkmus has been doing this for a long time and he seems to be having fun, and that fun transcends into the music and songs on this album. And like he sings in "Lariat" (you're not what you aren't, you aren't what you're not), Malkmus is what he is. All you have to do is join him in the wig out.

Final rating: 4/5


--Fredy M. Iuni hosts Hiway 1, Sundays at 1:00 pm on CJLO