Face The Truth
Stephen Malkmus is a guitar god. Halfway through ‘No More Shoes’, the lengthy centerpiece of his third solo record, the man known for his dry repartee, slack groundbreaking, and slow burning indie anthems lets loose a prog rock mushroom cloud of guitar solos and tweaky noise. The rumors that he played many of the instruments on here by himself become more impressive with each note. Take that (again), Billy Corgan.
Stephen Malkmus writes some of the better pop songs of our time. Take notice of the word selection: "writes" and not "wrote." Face The Truth’s lead single, ‘Baby C’Mon’ is the kind of fist pumping summer rock jam that lasts less than three minutes and stays in your head for three weeks. If Rivers Cuomo could still write songs like this then he might matter too. But he can’t. And he doesn’t.
Stephen Malkmus’ previous solo outings have not been without missteps. Time will tell, but if there really is a god of rock ‘n’ roll (and I believe there is) this is the music that will become our classic rock in years to come. Sure, there’s a snarky lyrical sensibility throughout, but it’s bizarrely welcoming, slightly challenging, and ripe with effective hooks.
All that, and Stephen Malkmus doesn’t really care. He’s hardly touring on the record at all, there’s very little hype, and it’s one of the best collections he’s released in a long time. While his peers have come and gone, there are very few out there who have stayed consistent for the last 15 years. With Face The Truth, Malkmus gets one big step closer to becoming an iconic rock figure known for his song writing history and not just by a former band name. It’s about time.Pete D’Angelo