- Released: September 26, 2005
- Label: Rykodisc
Rolling Stone - No. 984, p.1503.5 stars out of 5
- "...[J]angly longing and ice-wall harmonies..."
Uncut - p.984 stars out of 5
- "The album is front-loaded with songs containing those familiar dense harmonies and crackling electric guitars....These dozen tracks sport a freewheeling vitality..."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1083 stars out of 5
- "[T]here are signature switchblade guitars, harmony-strewn, Beatles-meets-Memphis R&B and even a well-judged Beach Boys knockoff.
- 2.Lady Sweet
- 3.Best Chance
- 4.Turn My Back on the Sun
- 5.Love Revolution
- 6.February's Quiet
- 7.Mine Exclusively
- 8.A Whole New Thing
- 9.Aria, Largo
- 10.Hung Up with Summer
- 11.Do You Wanna Make It
Big Star: Ken Stringfellow (bass guitar); Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, Alex Chilton.
Personnel: Jon Auer, Alex Chilton (vocals, guitar); Ken Stringfellow (vocals, keyboards); Jody Stephens (vocals, drums); Jim Spake (saxophone); Nokie Taylor (cornet).
Additional personnel: Nokie Taylor, Jim Spake.
Audio Mixer: Jeff Powell.
Recording information: Ardent Studios, Memphis, TN.
Arrangers: Alex Chilton; Jon Auer; Ken Stringfellow; Jody Stephens.
When you're the ultimate cult band, generally regarded as having invented power pop, and you put out your first batch of new recordings in over 30 years, you've got a lot to live up to. Such is the dilemma of Big Star's 2005 "comeback" album, IN SPACE, doomed never to be judged entirely on its own merits. For one thing, hard-liners who cavil about there being only two members of the original lineup should be reminded that the band's masterly third album was basically Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens plus session musicians. Supported here by the Posies members who've been backing the pair since their '90s reunion, Chilton and Stephens successfully reignite memories of RADIO CITY-era power-pop glory.
Of course, it wouldn't be an Alex Chilton project if everything followed a predictable pattern. In keeping with the notoriously mercurial frontman's modus operandi, the passel of gorgeous pop gems at the heart of IN SPACE is surrounded by a fair amount of off-the-wall weirdness. From a twisted funk parody to a pseudo-classical instrumental and a headfirst dive into surf rock, Chilton and company take delight in tweaking listeners' expectations. 'Twas ever thus in Chiltonland, though, and in that sense, IN SPACE easily earns its spot in his canon.