Malkmus allows his creative impulse to disguise the tune so effectively that at times it cannot resurface. On '1% Of One', he seems to be parodying the professionally parodic Tenacious D. The song has a faux epic structure, irritating falsetto vocal, intrusive guitar solo, prog rock tempo changes and finally a lengthy eventually discordant instrumental. The first track, 'Water And A Seat', commits an arguably more heinous crime by sounding like Steely Dan.
An album that veers outrageously from the sublime to the ridiculous and then somehow manages to combine the two extremes is not going to win Stephen Malkmus the elusive commercial bonus of mainstream success. Fans of his previous offerings will not be too upset though, because who really wants their favourite indie bands to start playing stadium gigs.
Apparently, the album shares a title with an episode of BBC sitcom The Good Life. Bizarre certainly, but surely it can be nothing more than a strange coincidence. Then again, when it comes from an album that includes the line, 'Do not feed the oysters under the cloud / They will suck you like a seagull into the sound', it is perhaps safer not to make assumptions.