If Pavement fans were saddened by the announcement last year that the band had finally run its course, they certainly must have been heartened by the enormous potential for solo work among Pavement's individual members. Although the prospect of diminished creativity looms whenever the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts, both Stephen Malkmus's first solo album and now Scott Kannberg's work with Preston School of Industry strongly suggest that the pieces of Pavement can easily stand on their own. Kannberg, known as Spiral Stairs while part of the slackened ones, has since assembled Preston School of Industry, named after a California mining school turned boys reformatory. PSOI's debut, All This Sounds Gas, offers plenty of the quirky and endearing qualities that defined the enigma of Pavement, as Kannberg plays up the same odd melodies and right-angle arrangements that made his previous band so maddeningly wonderful.
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Even with its obvious common points, PSOI shouldn't be mistaken for a diluted Pavement. Kannberg was listening to a lot of rootsy Americana during his post-Pavement downtime, and that exposure shows up frequently as Byrdsy folk patterns in PSOI's sonic quilt ("A Treasure @ Silver Bank," "Doping for Gold"). Just as often, Kannberg is likely to reference the homey psychedelia of Dream Syndicate ("Encyclopedic Knowledge Of") or the celestial pop of Echo and the Bunnymen ("History of the River"). By blending successful bits of Pavement with his own singular post-indie approach, Kannberg has successfully negotiated the wirewalk of starting a new band in the wake of a deposed and yet still wildly popular old band.