July 5, 2009

Test Spin: Wilco

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Wilco’s seventh studio LP, Wilco (The Album), channeling its eponymous title, spins as a consolidation of singer / songwriter Jeff Tweedy’s oeuvre. Congealing alt-country, quasi-experimental and neo-folk, the album genre-blazes across the band’s decade-and-a-half creative trajectory. Amidst up-tempo percussion, titular track “Wilco (The Song),” an admittedly self-conscious “infomercial,” offers sanctuary from the tumult of everyday living: “Put on your headphones / Before you’re exposed.” Throwing us off-balance with inventive time signature shifts, the nurturing chorus echoes over a howling siren, “Wilco, Wilco / Wilco will love you baby.” In “You and I,” a tender, intimate duet, Tweedy’s heartfelt, quivering vocals are warmly complemented by the serene, angelic voice of indie rock songstress Feist. “You Never Know,” apropos of Woodstock’s fortieth, jabs “Come on kids / You’re acting like children … Every generation thinks it’s the last.” Harkening back to rock n’ roll’s roots, sunshine-pop melodies are punctuated by fits of delta blues piano, twangy guitar bends and richly layered harmonies. And over the piercing spank of drummer Glenn Kotche’s snare, a triumphantly liberating, enlightened jolt: “I don’t care anymore! … It’s a feeling we transcend.” Across the remarkably fluid 11 tracks of the LP, Wilco conjures deep sentiment in an eclectic blend of mellow guitar pop, lyrical precision and freeform jams.