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Face the Truth

3.9 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 24, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

'Face The Truth' unveils a new Stephen Malkmus. His exuberance has given way to bliss, and his performances are more disarming and electrifying than ever. The volatile SM who sang "Water and a Seat" as if he were Muhammad Ali extolling his punch and shuffle is missing. On 'Face The Truth' we hear a beseeching, almost quizzical SM who has - to generalize - returned to his first influences. And he has downplayed his guitar virtuosity behind his singing and arranging. Matador. 2005.

Amazon.com

Never in his solo career has Stephen Malkmus so brazenly showcased his eclectic tendencies as he does on Face the Truth. We all know the ultra talented Indy icon is as complex as they come. Those following his prolific career from Pavement through his solo albums know he can intelligently mix up many musical styles while always managing to keep true to his core abilities. But rarely has Malkmus delivered such diversity. The electro opener, "Pencil Rot," stands oddly alone and the album kicks into gear at track two. "It Kills" opens like a plucky pop track from Pig Lib and turns Television-esque as the solo kicks in and lifts off into a beautiful, fuzzy landscape. "I've Hardly Been" unfolds with a Spanish, Bizet-laden rhythmic drone that slowly fragments into a blissfully deconstructed, discordant mess. And lo-fi heads will agree that it doesn't get much better than the eight minute "No More Shoes"--which strangely recalls disco-era Kiss (hear Dynasty's "I Was Made For Lovin' You") and the guitar swaps of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd. Fans of Malkmus and Pavement alike will not be disappointed. --Rob Bracco
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 24, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Unknown
  • ASIN: B0008FPIPY
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,197 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
When I think of pop, I think disposable but catchy music. Well, Malkmus could not be more catchy and listenable if he really really tried, but there are enough quirks and jerks to avoid the mainstream overkill that makes most music exhausting and thus disposable. You'll sing along everytime and still hear new things that will give you smirky smiles and force you to declare to everyone that Stephen Malkmus is a freakin' genius. Your friends will shake their heads, turn up their radios and miss out on the most listenable and inventive music since four lads from Liverpool landed on American soil. Really.
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Format: Audio CD
Yeah, and then I had to listen again and listen some more. That's pretty much the pattern with this guy's best work, isn't it? He doesn't specialize in self-imitation, so you can't easily guess where he's going next with his music. How many people saw the arena-like Crooked Rain coming after the slash and burn indie of Slanted and Enchanted? But the change was welcome, wasn't it? I mean the softening pattern of late Pavement suggested the sort of hippie-ish solo debut, but then Pig Lib got all weird in a new way. Still, Face the Truth gives the feeling of a more rapid change in the man's inner life. And we listeners reap big benefits, because this thing is all over the map. It's like a giant homework assignment. You have to ask yourself if you're really up for it. And because it's so dense and schizo, it yields great rewards to the patient and stubborn alike. Another way of saying this: I got this along with the new Beck, and while the Beck was likeable, I was done with it after two listens. I'm just getting started with Face the Truth. Not for the ADD crowd. Or, to paraphrase SM, the lovers of "Modern Minor Masterpieces for the Untrained Eye."
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Format: Audio CD
Malkmus' third solo album is not only a step forward from his last two solo albums, but also revives some of the chaos and spontinaity of his work with Pavement. Face the Truth jumps to life with squealing synths and rolling drums on the opening track, "Pencil Rot"'. It is the best opening track Malkmus has penned since "Silence Kit" from Pavement's 1994 breakthrough, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. Malkmus keeps the momentum going on the next track, "It Kills", a psychedelic jam that wouldn't have sounded out of place on his last album, Pig Lib.

Throughout Face the Truth, Malkmus explores a wide variety of sounds, from the acid-country of "Freeze the Saints" to the synthetic disco-funk of "Kindling for the Master". The album's center piece, "No More Shoes", sounds like a homage to Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" at first, but ends up sounding more like the second cousin of Sonic Youth's "Rain on Tin". As the song unfolds, yet another homage appears (this time to Kiss' "I was made for loving you") before morphing into the sunny, reflective "Mama".

Long time fans used to the guitar noise and freak-outs of his previous work, may be put off by Malkmus' abundant use of synthesizers on Face the Truth. After a few listens though, the quality of the songs speak for themselves, regardless of their instrumentation. Because of that, it becomes clear that Malkmus was not only the brains behind Pavement, but that Pavement, no matter how great the band was, is dead.

If Beck's Guero let you down, this album will definetly appease your inner slacker.
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Format: Audio CD
Stephen Malkmus is still primarily known as the singer/writer from Pavement, and he'll probably have that tag stuck to him for a very long time. But since the legendary indierock band broke up in 1999, Malkmus has been producing magnificently quirky indierock of his own.

"Face the Truth" is his third solo album, and it's a good one -- Malkmus takes his insane writing and sonic flourishes, and adds a very catchy rhythm to them. It's without a doubt his weirdest collection yet, and probably the first to experiment so much with electronic blips and buzzes. It has some weak moments, but it's not something to be forgotten soon.

The new sound becomes obvious in the first seconds of "Pencil Rot," an angular, herky-jerky eruption of synth, drum machines, and a guy he calls Leather McWhipp. That sound gives way to Malkmus' moaning voice and solid guitars, still tangled up in the looming synth. That chaotic edge seeps into other, more organic songs.

But Malkmus falls back into slow-burning indierock in most of the remaining songs, like "It Kills," which sounds like a Pavement B-side, as well as discoesque rock, Beatlesque pop music, and urgent rootsy rock. In these, synth takes a backseat to the quirky indierock sound that Malkmus has been doing for years.

Stephen Malkmus has made a living of sounding kind of depressed. But in "Face the Truth," he sounds like he's gotten some enthusiasm back -- even when singing in a despairing falsetto, he sounds more gung ho. In fact, as good as his previous solo work has been, he hasn't sounded this earnest since the early days of Pavement.

Musically, it's a bit different. Many of the songs bring older Malkmus and Pavement work to mind, until one listens to some of the weirder songs.
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