With ‘Sky Blue Sky’ and ‘Wilco (The Album)’, Wilco probably lost a lot of people who liked what they had done on ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ and ‘A Ghost Is Born’. I guess the same is true of those albums though, in that they lost a lot of people who loved ‘AM’, ‘Being There’ and ‘Summerteeth’ – or at least confused a lot. Yet, along the way, they have not only gained fans but have become one of the most successful and critically acclaimed bands in the USA, if not the world. One thing is always guranteed prior to the release of a new Wilco record and that is that you should not assume that you know what the record is going to be like.
The complexities of YHF and AGIB that were missing from the previous two records appears to have returned in part. Never before has Nels Cline’s contribution appeared to be so vital to proceedings. Glen Kotche’s drumming, as always, pivitol to the overall Wilco experience. Experimentation? no. But definitely a willingness to let back in the invention rather than focusing on simple song writing. And yet, it is in Jeff Tweedy’s song writing skills that this band are rooted and grow. Some of the most beautiful songs Tweedy has written appear on ‘The Whole Love’. ‘Black Moon’, ‘Rising Red Lung’ and 12 minute album closer ‘One Sunday Morning’ are just gorgeous tunes. Tweedy’s vocal soft and clean, as the rest of the band make tunes, that appear to be simple, dense and illustrated.
To be perfectly honest, there is something for everyone on this record. If you love the Wilco of ‘Spiders’ and ‘Bull Black Nova’, then album opener ‘Art of Almost’ will blow you away. Electornic, pulsating and in your face from the word go, it’s positioning on the record will certainly throw people as the rest of the record is revealed.
If you prefer your early Wilco then try out the country tinged ‘Open Mind’ and rocker’ ‘Standing O’. If you are a ‘Summerteeth’ fan why not try ‘Born Alone’ or ‘Capitol City’ for size.
Seriously, this record feels like the end of something. I don’t know why but it feels like a bringing together of everything Wilco have been and now are and perhaps it will represent another shift in direction in the future. Who knows? I guess that’s what I love about them most, they always leave me guessing what’s going to happen next. For now though, I am happy with my lot.
You can check out Wilco here. Enjoy.