Wilco (The Album) (The Album Review)

On behalf the band, Land of Punt would like to apologize for Wilco. It’s not their fault they’re better than 99% of recording artists currently flourishing. It’s not their fault they’re better than your favorite band. They really can’t help being so good.

So please don’t get upset over their latest album because quite frankly it’s pretty damn good. It’s almost good enough to actually purchase and it’s certainly good enough to inspire fans, both the hardcore and the causal, to purchase Wilco tickets.

According to lead singer Jeff Tweedy, on Wilco (The Album), the band will <em>allow themselves a little bit more leeway in terms of sculpting the sound in the studio and doing overdubs and using the studio as another instrument</em>

Wilco (The Album)

This latest offering, Wilco (The Album), is scheduled to be released on June 30th. However, they streamed it for free on their website on May 13th. The album had been leaked on the internet but instead of alienating fans with some Draconian response, the band said, “the hell with it” and put it up on their website. This calculated and level-headed approach garnered over 100,000 hits to their website.

Despite have generally cynical lyrics, there’s always a lot of comfort to be found in Wilco’s music and Wilco (The Album) is no different. It’s reassuring to hear mature guitar oriented rock that emphasizes songwriting and musicianship. Listening to Wilco is like giving your soul a hug.

LOP has always believed that Wilco’s music sounds like it’s from a land where Exile on Main Street, Abbey Road and Let It Be reign supreme; George Harrison and Jeff Lynne produce everything; and The Bryds are liked by everyone not just rock snobs.

The album, produced by Jim Scott and the band, gives fans 11 more great Wilco songs including the opening track, “Wilco (The Song),” a ditty that’s sure to wear out the preverbal needle on your Itunes.

Wilco (The Album) was recorded in Neil Finn's recording studio (Roundhead studios) in Auckland, New Zealand.

Wilco (The Album) was recorded in Neil Finn\’s recording studio (Roundhead studios) in Auckland, New Zealand.

After that rousing toe tapper, the band slows it down with the melancholy “Deeper Down” followed by the melodic “One Wing.” The fourth track, “Bull Black Nova” brings the funk and picks up where “Spiders (Kidsmoke),” from A Ghost Is Born, left off.

“You and I,” a duet with Feist, would be, in a better world, a number one smash hit. In case you’re wondering, the band met Feist at the 50th Grammy Awards.

Only Wilco could make such a tired old phrase like “I don’t care anymore” relevant and uplifting. You’ll hear front man Jeff Tweedy sing that phrase over and over again in the catchy and sagacious, “You Never Know.”

The song also produces one of the albums best line, “every generation thinks it’s the worst, thinks it’s the end of the world.”

“Country Disappeared” is a tender ditty that show-offs Tweedy’s falsetto. “Solitaire” slows the album down even further, but is still an interesting and haunting song although it’s probably the album’s weakest moment.

Wilco is guitarist and singer Jeff Tweedy, bassist John Stirratt, guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalists Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche.

Wilco is guitarist and singer Jeff Tweedy, bassist John Stirratt, guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalists Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche.

The lyrics of “I’ll Fight” are a little jarring but the song’s rock vibe more than compensates. It eventually evolves into a thrilling mid-tempo gem.

The album’s penultimate track is the playful and complex “Sonny Feeling,” a controlled but emotional rocker. As it unfolds we hear Tweedy sing, “remember to, show gratitude, the darkest night isn’t new.”

In terms of song writing, the soulful “Everlasting Everything” is probably the album’s best effort. The piano heavy ditty is nice way to end a solid and consistent collection of songs.

Wilco’s latest album is what LOP calls “Soundtrack for life.” You put it on and you let it play over and over again. It’s so well conceived, executed, and produced that you can listen to it for 25 times and never tire. It also has a vibe and an energy that’s suitable for any and every occasion. It’s an utilitarian album.

This assessment not only speaks volumes to the quality of Wilco as performers but it speaks volumes to the complexity of Wilco’s music. You can’t just listen to them once. Unfortunately that quality is exactly what keeps them stuck as an “alternative” band.

Needless to say, Wilco is in the Land of Punt.

Wilco (The Album)

1. “Wilco (The Song)” – 2:59
2. “Deeper Down” – 2:59
3. “One Wing” – 3:42
4. “Bull Black Nova” – 5:39
5. “You and I” – 3:26
6. “You Never Know” – 4:21
7. “Country Disappeared” – 4:02
8. “Solitaire” – 3:04
9. “I’ll Fight” – 4:23
10. “Sonny Feeling” – 4:13
11. “Everlasting Everything” – 3:58

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT0VlruECec]

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