I don't know about you, but I got scared for a second when Stephen Malkmus released his second solo effort, Pig Lib. While that record had brief moments of whatever wizardry the former Pavement frontman would summon with his old band, the songs would often veer into some tangential hippie jam (courtesy of Malkmus' backing band, the Jicks) before you had a chance to bob your head in agreement. Face the Truth still lacks anything as catchy as the diamonds on the seminal Slanted and Enchanted or Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. However, most of his latest offering finds Malkmus dabbling in similar melodic territory as the final three Pavement records, albums that fans feel are clearly eclipsed by the early material, but are still far more palatable and timeless than much of what was released in the '90s. Face the Truth contains more synths than past albums, but there is still plenty of the sloppy electric guitar antics that will always be synonymous with Malkmus. And, as usual, his lyrical constructions are cryptic, clever, humorous, pretentious, and literate, the one thing you can always count on.
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