Preston School of Industry

Monsoon (Matador)

Preston School of Industry

Monsoon (Matador) Following up a grand debut is always a tough trick. Pavement's criminally overlooked second guy, Scott Kannberg (aka Spiral Stairs), brought the goods to his first album as Preston School of Industry. After having his songs shut out of the last Pavement album, Terror Twilight, by His Dryness Stephen Malkmus, Kannberg dropped a pent-up set of fractured pop gems and sprawling, distortion-channel workouts on All This Sounds Gas, recapturing some of that elusive Slanted and Enchanted magic. As an encore, Monsoon is a crisper, cleaner, less distorted LP, yet it doesn't quite have the same pull. To Kannberg's credit, Monsoon sounds less like a Pavement descendant than an artifact from New Zealand legends the Clean. Case in point: Monsoon's most successful turn is "Caught in the Rain," with the direct three-chords-plus pop charm the Clean built a career on. "If the Straits of Magellan Should Ever Run Dry" is similar, but unremarkable save for its title. "Line It Up" is Monsoon's early-Pavement time capsule, its bubbly stream-of-consciousness raves and guitar scuzz very much in line with the first PSOI record. "Her Estuary Twang" combines the earnest delivery and slide guitar that dominates this album with snowy hiss and a string of bubbly ba-da-bas. Monsoon is no earth-shaker, but it's more fun than Malkmus' confounding Pig Lib-isms. (Thursday, March 18, 10pm @ La Zona Rosa)


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