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Wilco | Wilco (The Album)

Nonesuch (2009)
By RYAN STEWART  |  May 19, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars


The cover photo of a camel wearing a party hat on a terrace is a clue: after nearly a decade of fighting — with record labels, former bandmates, migraines, addictions, their own rise to fame, and their reputation as the embodiment of the term "dad rock" — Jeff Tweedy and Wilco have lightened up. Wilco (The Album) finds the band looser and more assertive than they were on their two previous efforts, A Ghost Is Born and Sky Blue Sky, populated as those were with sleepy, open-ended jams, thorny arrangements, and experimental deviations.

There's only one extended solo-heavy song here, "Bull Black Nova," and they get it out of the way early on. Thereafter, we're treated to a string of unassuming, twangy pop songs that would fit on Summerteeth, if not Being There, the best being "You and I," a sweet duet with Leslie Feist. "You Never Know," "Country Disappeared," "I'll Fight," and "Wilco (The Song)" are all familiar territory for the band, but they represent a welcome return to the sound that got them all that attention in the first place.

They sound comfortable being Wilco for the first time since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot came along and changed everything. In that sense, the winking title is oddly appropriate.

Related: Photos: Bonnaroo 2009, Music seen: Wilco, The Big Hurt: Brand new Dio; same old Yoko; auguries of Creed, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Feist (Singer), Wilco, Wilco,  More more >
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