Review - Wilco (The Album)

image courtesy of David B. Johnson

At this point, how do you accurately review Wilco? An amazing band whose had a stronger stride than any since the amazing story and deserved success of 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot'. Every album including and since then has shown us the sonic mastery that patience produces – Nels Cline also helps :)

Sure, Tweedy's voice gets grittier and richer with every album and just like 'Sky Blue Sky', you wait for an ambient solo to take you to Mars. Glenn Kotche still surprises you even though you now how skilled he is. And, no matter indie-folk, pill-popping blues or mature-rock, Wilco does it better than anyone else.

Wilco (The Album) opens with, you guessed it, 'Wilco (The Song)' – controlled and delicately crashed feedback delivers the sonic punch on this breezy-pop opener. 'Wilco will love you babe', Tweedy sings before returning to the chorus. This track and the album's second half 'Sunny Feeling' are the peppiest songs on their newest album. Not that this is a problem or disadvantage for Jeff and the rest of the band – especially if you've seen the 'Sunken Treasure' DVD.

'Deeper Down' is very Sgt. Pepper-ish sounding with a distinct 60's pop feel. Mr. Cline gets even more comfortable on this track and keeps his promise of a 'more plastic, more sonic' album – things begin to evolve into a mature, prog-pop sound.

On 'One Wing', while disarming and at the same time armed with a quiet start, the lush and delicate riffs shine through what sounds like quiet key strokes. Tweedy's voice holds off Kotche's drum rolls before the full delivery with a galloping change and a Nels solo right into Saturn. While Cline owned 'Sky Blue Sky', this album is Kotche's time to shine.

'Bull Black Nova' and the Feist duet 'You and I' bring the sun out again, thanks in part to an epic solo on the former, in the likes of a Pink Floyd/Rush garage jam.

As the latter part of the album comes and goes with slower and more moody tracks like 'Country Disappeared' and 'Solitaire', Wilco fans are reminded why their favorite albums change between 'A.M.' and 'Being There', 'A Ghost is Born' and 'Summerteeth', etc.

In 'I'll Fight', Wilco brings things back up for a bit before going into 'Sunny Feeling', a bright track with a charming and shimmering cheekiness.

'Everlasting' allows a somber closing and offers bursts of Wilco glory and ambient, effect-ridden hand-waives to finish the album.

See you at The Wiltern!

Final rating: 8.5/10
Key tracks: 'Wilco (The Song)', 'One Wing'

VIDEO - Wilco - 'I'm the Man Who Love You' (live from Lollapalooza '06)