Domino – 2001 – 41 minutes

Stephen Malkmus' assertion that this solo debut is just his former outfit Pavement with a different rhythm section does his talent as a songwriter a dirty disservice. Whereas Pavement were a cult band who never quite got it together to be huge, this album sees him building stronger, shinier bridges between the interests of indie kids and - whisper it - the mainstream whims of their parents. Yes, the lyrics are still chock full of the same idiosyncratic musings (this time populated by pirates, flies on horses tails and someone called Major Almonzo) that Pavement revelled in, but his interest in pop songs is sharper and smarter than ever.

Witness 'Phantasies' and the aptly named 'The Hook', two of the finest singalongs Malkmus has put his name to, the former boasting an insanely catchy 60's style chorus, the latter bouncing along in a flurry of cowbells and guitars. Elsewhere 'Trojan Curfew' is his vision of just what a slow dance should be while the album's standout song, the spacey ballad 'Deado', will have you dreaming of Malkmus and just a piano next time 'round. The best album Pavement never made? Too small a compliment for what's offered up here.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Black Book - Phantasies - Jo Jo's Jacket - Church On White - The hook - Discretion Grove - Troubbble - Pink India - Trojan Curfew - Vague Space - Jenny And The Ess-Dog - Deado