ALBUM REVIEW: Stephen Malkmus – Traditional Techniques | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Released: 06.03.20






Traditional Techniques is probably the most telling title for a Stephen Malkmus album in years. Not to doubt the man’s sincerity (2018’s Sparkle Hard was some of his most politically astute and personal songwriting to date) but he does seem to do things in a way that’s slightly askance.

He’s made the most ‘trad’ album of his career here perhaps, fed through his sieve of awkwardness. Basically a stripped back country rock record, The Greatest Legal Own In History is funny, profound and obtuse in a way that’s classically Malkmus; What Kind Of Person is one of the most painfully straightforward and tear-jerking songs in his canon. There’s real vulnerability here, counterbalanced by obtuseness. He’s coming in for the hug but then he’s pulling away.


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