Back in the nineties, Courtney Love aptly pegged Stephen Malkmus as "the Grace Kelly of indie rock." With his second solo album, the former Pavement frontman proves he can grow old gracefully even while his cultivated guitar poetry becomes increasingly far out. Pig Lib is Malkmus' loosest set of songs ever, an elegantly meandering head trip underpinned by the kind of tuneful, world-wise romanticism that's won him the hearts of English majors everywhere. Touched with more than a hint of prog-rock weirdness, songs such as "(Do Not Feed the) Oyster" sound like the work of some genius burnout from the early Seventies, deftly merging surrealist verse and Malkmus' sumptuous guitar ramblings. Sandwiched between these mini-epics are some of Malkmus' prettiest songs ever, including "Vanessa From Queens," an up-tempo winner on the middle ground between late Velvet Underground and early Neil Young. Long may you run, gentle warrior.
(From RS 919, April 3, 2003)