Fortunately, there are varying degrees of smacking-upside-the-head. Fans of the now-disbanded Pavement know all too well that the group's frontman, Stephen Malkmus, always had a talent for cradling while he cajoled -- sort of a stony satyr playing gentle hob with your noggin while entertaining himself to no end. The material that he's playing with his current band, the Jicks, is a sweet madeleine of Pavement's preferable attributes, with all the hard angles buffed down to breathy puffs of calculated texture and groovy oh-yeah-baby. Lyrically the songs are Malkmus' own private little jokes, but it's difficult to take offense when the colorful smoke he's blowing up your ass smells so dreamy. And as in any good dream, there's no telling what'll happen next. Therein lies the soft Dutch rub you so desperately need.
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