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Record Review 

OK, it may not exactly be Lennon vs. McCartney. Maybe not even Lennon/ McCartney vs. Harrison. But a few years after Pavement's swansong, Terror Twilight, and only six months between their representative solo debuts, the rivalry still rages between Pavement's Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg (aka Spiral Stairs).

While Malkmus wanted to release what became his self-titled solo album under the name the Jicks, Matador held fast to capitalizing on the his recognition. Kannberg, meanwhile, weighs in with All This Sounds Gas, credited to the unwieldy, cryptic Preston School of Industry. And for once, he gets to be the wackier, more literary one.

It's a brief victory, though. With All This Sounds Gas, it becomes apparent that Malkmus, not Kannberg, was the one with the quirky lyrics and the quakey sounds. And if that's Pavement to you, then consider Malkmus the band's true heir. For the most part, Kannberg's lyrics involve repeating the song title as the chorus, over and over.

But if what made Pavement sound like Pavement to you was the group's laid-back groove (broken occasionally by a feedback- ridden jumble), then All This Sounds Gas will sound more familiar than the Jicks' joint did. Kannberg is the traditional, slightly delicate rock to Malkmus' indie spirit. Gone are the shambles, the half-songs of early Pavement. "Falling Away" conjures up Cure-like jangle, and the fuzz guitar of "History of the River" is all Sleeps With Angels-era Neil Young. "A Treasure @ Silver Bank" even has some lovely pedal steel.

Several songs here were actually written for Terror Twilight, and who's to say how they would've turned out had Malkmus and Kannberg collaborated. But what we do know is this: A little like Lennon/ McCartney vs. Harrison, Malkmus might receive most of the glory, but Kannberg winds up with an album of pretty pop songs that stand well enough on their own.

Preston School of Industry plays Wed., Nov. 14, at The Earl.

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