To call Big Star
's first studio album since 1978, In Space
, a crushing failure is to be too kind. To fail you have to try; guitarist/vocalist Alex Chilton barely goes through the motions. Like an icon petrified by his own apathy, he can't even convince himself that manipulating Big Star sonics solar harmonies, pealing guitars and soul-garage rhythms is more than peddling trinkets. That he's no longer capable of crafting priceless, transfixing rock gems isn't so much a sign of dissipated power as it is a sign of cynicism. And yet onstage, with one of rock's great, underrated drummers, Jody Stephens, and power-pop acolytes Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow (also of the Posies), Chilton has already proven he hasn't mortgaged his soul. Still doubtful? Check the reunion live set Columbia
(as in Missouri), or just head down to the river this weekend.