STEPHEN MALKMUS AND THE JICKS Pig Lib (Matador) Rating: NN Rating: NN
Part of the reason why prog rock can be so infuriating is the fact that the bands in question are always trying to put across how much smarter they are than you. Malkmus's reputation as an egghead is long-established, but in the past -- with Pavement and on his solo debut -- he managed to keep the indulgences in check with genuinely entertaining songwriting. Pig Lib suggests he's lost the plot. There are proper songs here, including the charming Ramp Of Death and the closer Us. In between, though, Malkmus appears to have succeeded in translating onto tape the meandering jams that turned Pavement's live shows into comedy routines, complete with awkward time changes, annoying whining and other self-conscious experiments that should have been left on the garage floor.