Face the Truth
Stephen Malkmus’ third post-Pavement solo effort finds him aging gracefully, sounding comfortably assured even when he’s experimenting wildly — with obvious intent to cause audience double-takes. Like on the opener “Pencil Riot” or “I’ve Hardly Been,” it’s almost like Malkmus has a twisted will to frustrate. But these moments are broken up by more standard Malkmus fare like the jam-oriented “No More Shoes,” the pretty piano ballad “Freeze the Saints” or the languid pearl “It Kills.” What makes Face the Truth great — albeit the most difficult of the three records — is that it shows an artist not yet ready to cash in his chips. Even though there is a lot of Pavement left in the old master, he is still pushing his craft in unexpected directions.