All This Sounds Gas, Preston School of Industry Matador Records

Paul Wong
Dude, have you seen the size of that thing?” 20010911, arts, New Line greenlights, <br><br>Courtesy of Compaq

With a post-Pavement side project from Malkmus out earlier this year it was only a matter of time till Scott Kannberg (a.k.a. Spiral Stairs) straightened out and dropped his own solo-record. The brain trust behind much of Pavement”s lo-fi high-brow shred, Stairs” solo album mirrors his previous work.

Where Preston School of Industry could use a lesson is in the mono-tone sustained speech vocals of Spiral Stairs. The melodies are similar to Malkmus” but without Stephen”s falsetto freakouts Kannberg”s hum drones more in the needled vein of Lou Reed.

In “Doping for Gold” Kannberg averts and diverts onto a guitar flustered breakdown featuring a series of disenchanted slides and slanted time signature-vexed riffing.

“Solitaire” bungles along a “Walk of Life” pace, replete with what should be Dire Straits” trademarked keyboards.

With 2001 releases from the co-founders of Pavement, it would seem that the band hasn”t dropped that far out of the limelight.

Kannberg reflects in the opening track “Whalebones” on Pavement”s demise with the line “It”s twenty hours to go/Played the final show/Of a lifetime.” And at the same time broods optimism throughout the rest of the record thru upbeat slickened indie ditties.

Earmarked with more pop sensibilities and the avante garde mixed deep in the songs Preston School of Industry”s All This Sounds Gas is a throwback to early Pavement beneath its own glossy surface.

While “Whalebones” marks the end of Pavement All This Sounds Gas is a new beginning for the briefly retired Spiral Stairs.

Grade: B

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