Picks and Pans Review: Wowee Zowee
On two previous albums, Pavement established itself as a band brimming with talent but disinclined to work hard to show it. The ironic guys from Stockton, Calif., tossed off dozens of agile hooks and melodious snippets, infused them with experimental quirks, then cobbled the result into pleasantly ragged songs. Great things were predicted for these princes of tuneful nonchalance. But on its new album the band seems to reply, You don't get it, we really don't care.
It's an aggressively inchoate collection of 18 tracks, some of them less than 2 minutes long. The few that qualify as whole songs offer tantalizing glimpses of where Pavement might go if getting there wasn't such a bother. "Western Homes" is a winsomely pixilated pop tune, and "Kennel District" boasts an impressively growling guitar sound. But most of the album feels less like Pavement than like a lazily blazed trail. (Matador)