Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wilco - Wilco (the album) (Nonesuch, 2009)

American rock 'n' roll band Wilco has gained a reputation for mixing traditional heartland populist rock music with more experimental tendencies. This album continues that trend, with singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy and a shifting cast of band members taking solace in their contradictory nature. On the one hand there are upbeat radio friendly performances on this disc that seem like their proper place would be on 1970's AM radio, like the infectious opener "Wilco (The Song)" with it's positive up-with-people lyrics and sing along chorus. "You and I" takes the formula a little too far however, veering off into an almost cringe inducing soft rock nadir. Reedeming the album is one of the finest songs Wilco have ever produced, the genuinely disturbing "Bull Black Nova" which is a devastating performance filled with paranoid lyrics and wonderfully passionate guitar textures from Nels Cline. Wilco seems to be at their best (or perhaps I just enjoy them the most) when they up the tempo and remember that they are actually a rock band as displayed on the songs "One Wing" and "Sonny Feeling." In those instances, the pace is quick, the band is tight and the music makes an impact. It is when the tempos slow that the music becomes morose and rather dull. As shown by some of the songs on this album, Wilco is still a band that is well worth following, and hopefully the will get their groove back fully in albums to come, but this offering is somewhat of a mixed bag.
Wilco (The Album) -

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