Stephen Malkmus - 'Groove Denied'

6/10

Having been the frontman for both Pavement and The Jicks during his career, Stephen Malkmus has certainly built up an impressive back catalogue over the years, His adventures throughout his musical endeavours have usually involved unconventional and outlandish expectations that those around him have always been willing to facilitate. But as he looks to release the latest of only a handful of truly solo records, the frontman seems to have adopted a strong electronic edge as 'Groove Denied' sees him move away from his familiar sound for something far more experimental.

Inspired by what he has called "warped psych", which as far as we can tell involves elements of psych-rock, industrial and 80s synthwave, this latest full-length sees Stephen as far removed from his comfort zone as he has ever been as he looks to find a new and unusual path amongst a wave of spiked electronics and minimal production techniques. Yet while his haunting voice makes for a suitable accompaniment to this new backdrop, there are plenty of moments on this release where Stephen keeps himself quiet, allowing him to explore a deeper side to his compositions and occasionally delivering a broad and expressive soundscape.

While his vigour can be commended for taking such great leaps on this return, there are times on this record where self-indulgence gets the better of him and we find ourself continuing to listen to a cut that lost its interest a while back. 'Groove Denied' is a brilliant collection of ideas, but not all hit the target and some simply stick around for far too long.

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