First Appeared at The Music Box, April 2000, Volume 7, #4
Written by John Metzger
Pavement is most certainly a group with talent. The problem is that Stephen Malkmus and company often choose not to use it. More often than not, the band is content simply to lay down a sloppy mess of sounds, which often veers more toward noise than music. A little bit of this might be alright, but Pavement overdoes it to the point of laziness. What do you want, they're slackers through and through.
Should we, in fact, expect more from the group? Of course we should, and with their fifth album Terror Twilight, Pavement, in fact, delivers its best offering to date. The noise is toned down considerably, and instead, the feedback is carefully sculpted into sonic explorations, containing the heavy Velvet Underground-influence that has always pervaded Pavement's music.
This no doubt is thanks to the pristine production work of Nigel Godrich, who has previously worked his magic with Radiohead, R.E.M., and Beck. While he doesn't succeed quite as well here as he has with these other groups, Godrich's imprint is felt, nonetheless. The result is striking: Gorgeous melodies bubble to the surface (Spit on a Stranger); vocals and lyrics play a greater role (Major Leagues, Billie); and sounds come together to create an album for headphones complete with psychedelic implications (the space jam in You Are a Light, the opposing guitars in Cream of Gold, and the blend of groovy percussion and distorted backing vocals on Speak, See, Remember).
It isn't a picture-perfect album by far, and many Terror Twilight's tracks seem to blend together into a one-dimensional portrait. Nevertheless, the album very well may be the turning point for Pavement. The group finally has permitted its for grafting world-weary emotion onto catchy little melodies, and the songs are unmarred by the band's apparent fear of greater success.
Since the release of Terror Twilight, Pavement has delivered more consistency in its concert appearances. However, it also has been dogged by rumors of its demise. New and longtime fans alike can only hope this isn't true as the band just now seems to be getting it together enough to take its brand of rock 'n‘ roll to the next level. ½
Of Further Interest...
Terror Twilight is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2000 The Music Box