Conceiving a paradigmatic mode of indie rock and then subtly modulating it into more fluid and twisty prog rock can get old after 30 years, so Pavement leader Stephen Malkmus tweaked his wry, rangy rock songwriting into different forms on the new Groove Denied album. The aging-rocker-goes-electronic subplot often comes across as anticlimactic, but Malkmus is savvy enough with the synth-centric aesthetic not to embarrass himself. Actually, Groove Denied ranks as SM’s most interesting and boldest post-Pavement release yet, with “Belziger Faceplant” in particular sounding like a mutated minimal-wave highlight. If this is a midlife-crisis move for Malkmus, then it’s much better than splurging on a Dodge Viper.
by Dave Segal
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