Pavement - Terror Twilight
The first time I listened to this album I heard it
as nothing more than a continuation of Brighten the
Corners, but I was sorely mistaken. Terror Twilight
*does* continue on the sound developed in Brighten the
Corners, but it extends these often smooth, slick pop
sounds into weird new realms.
There is a strange tension about the album
because it sounds at once like the most conventional
and mainstream of Pavement's releases and like the
most outlandish. I cannot account for this tension,
except to say that at careful listen any notions of
this as a mainstream, conventional album are
Instrumentally, Terror Twilight sounds at first
more cohesive, tight, and conventional than anything
Malkums et al have produced. For the most part, the
guitar work even seems in key and the instruments
tuned. TT is an inversion of Slanted and Enchanted,
the former was a sort of wall of noise with melodic
bursts, whereas TT is a wall of melody with startling
bursts of noise.
Of course there are songs that are straight out
of the Slanted and Enchanted songbook, like Cream of
Gold, where the simple rhythm bulids to increasing
chaos and noise like something Stockhausen might have
composed only with catchy lyrics. And the
folk/country and western influences are probably
stronger than on any Pavement release since Crooked
Rain. But on the whole, TT represents a serious break
with the old Pavement--it sounds more doleful and
world weary, the playfulness is more gentle and less
Malkmus said Brighten the Corners represented a
Blue Period for Pavement. TT seems to represent a
whole new era to which Brighten was a precursor.
TT is rhythmic/slack/folk/atonal/peppy and
rockin', often all in the same song. For all its
changes in mood and style, for instance, Platform
Blues seems as long as a Berg opera, seems like
several different songs, all of them good.
Predictably, the lyrics are inspired. Like the
album as a whole, they seem more crafted than ever
before, some of them even approach linear thought
patterns. The humour and the irony are still present,
but the self-effacement is gone for the most
part--it's as though Malkmus is comfortable enough to
write lyrics without that protection mechanism
Spiral Stairs' vocals on Carrot Rope are fun.
That song has lyrics that make it sound like they are
trying to do something naughty with a little boy.
In total, the album doesn't sound *like* anything
all that much...it sounds like Pavement growing up and
that is a new thing under the sun. It is still early,
but Terror Twilight is certainly going to be one of my
favourite, if not THE favourite, album of the year.
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