Albums to watch

Sparkle Hard

Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks

Sparkle Hard

Album number seven from the Oregon indie rock quartet led by the former Pavement frontman

ADM rating[?]

7.9

Label
Domino
UK Release date
18/05/2018
US Release date
18/05/2018
  1. 9.1 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    This is his best work in years
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  2. 9.0 |   The Music

    There's a real depth to the painstaking and wonderfully unpredictable arrangements
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  3. 9.0 |   Exclaim

    The most dynamic and entertaining Jicks record thus far
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  4. 9.0 |   All Music

    The craft and cleverness of Sparkle Hard can't disguise the simple fact that he means this music, man
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  5. 8.7 |   Paste Magazine

    The best Jicks album in several years
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  6. 8.5 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    This album is just another jewel in his jauntily-angled crown
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  7. 8.3 |   Consequence Of Sound

    A collection of well-crafted rockers that blend a wry voice with our insane modern moment
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  8. 8.3 |   A.V. Club

    Sparkle Hard is Malkmus at his most compelling: balancing his experimental whims while revealing pieces of his arcane heart
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  9. 8.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    When this album is good it’s superb – probably the Jicks’ finest yet; and when it’s less so – less focused, more haphazard and wilfully out-there – it’s still pretty damn great as well
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  10. 8.0 |   The Skinny

    Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus returns with an album overflowing with hooks, and a hint of grace and gravitas
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  11. 8.0 |   The FT

    Loose and discursive things appear to discard trains of thought while actually observing some sly inner logic
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  12. 8.0 |   Clash

    An assuredly sparkly album
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  13. 8.0 |   DIY

    A seemingly never-ending well of ideas
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  14. 8.0 |   Uncut

    Bristles with an energy that proves he's got a place in the present, and a new accessibility that compromises none of his eccentricities

  15. 8.0 |   Q

    There's a richness here that's been absent from previous Jicks records. Print edition only

  16. 8.0 |   Mojo

    As well as blending linguistic elegance and musical levity, Sparkle Hard affirms Stephen Malkmus's increasingly contemplative approach. Print edition only

  17. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    His musical gifts are as bountiful as ever
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  18. 8.0 |   The Observer

    The former Pavement frontman still possesses the qualities that distinguished his years with the 90s band – an off-kilter sensibility and a love of language – but there is a newfound readiness to confront the iniquities of the real world
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  19. 8.0 |   American Songwriter

    Sparkle Hard comfortably fits in alongside any of the other entries in his oeuvre, but it also feels like a more mature release
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  20. 8.0 |   Pitchfork

    The witty and digressive songwriting of Stephen Malkmus becomes newly and delightfully grounded in the present day
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  21. 8.0 |   PopMatters

    Malkmus has honed his casual sleight of hand techniques to the point that on Sparkle Hard you can often see the result but miss the steps
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  22. 7.8 |   Earbuddy

    Sparkle Hard is a sparkling reflection of Stephen Malkmus. His weird lyrics are on full display. There are some great guitar jams
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  23. 7.6 |   Sputnik Music (staff)

    An intriguing niche-record that occasionally meanders into greatness
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  24. 7.0 |   Spectrum Culture

    It feels far more assured of himself in a way we haven’t seen from him in quite some time
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  25. 7.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Not quite as good as his Beck-produced 2011 album Mirror Traffic but it's a more immediate than his last LP, 2014's Wig Out at Jagbags
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  26. 7.0 |   Slant Magazine

    For Stephen Malkmus, being a mature artist and an irreverent goofball aren't mutually exclusive
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  27. 7.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    A perfectly pleasant album that will elegantly sate a particular hunger
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  28. 5.0 |   music OMH

    For fans, the minor evolution and heavier sonic palette may whet their appetite, but for anyone in search of a new revolutionary energy in the realm of indie rock, steer clear
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