Friday, 29 April 2011

Random Review #51 Wilco - (The Album)

C1S12CD8 picked by @bearclarj whose daily commentary of the perils of public transport makes me chuckle, and next week’s #masterpieces picker (see previous blog about #masterpieces).

When Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy split the cult band Uncle Tupelo they both went their separate ways, Farrar disappeared into obscurity and Tweedy set up Wilco. I came across Wilco around 1996 when they released their second album Being There, a sprawling double album that really encompassed everything that was great about the Alt-country/Americana scene at the time. Since then Wilco have continued to release albums of the highest quality, never sitting back on their laurels and at times pushing themselves so far that their record company refused to release their music (think it was the album A Ghost is Born). They eventually managed to get out of their record deal and obtain rights to the album and released it to huge critical acclaim.
Wilco have a fierce live reputation which I can confirm after seeing them for the first time last year; the performance was intense and emotional and there were moments of sheer brilliance where I couldn’t imagine any live concert being any better than that moment in time.

Wilco The Album from Wilco the Band which includes Wilco the Song, where they utter the words “Wilco loves you so” and I think they must keep releasing music of this quality. If I had written this review at the beginning of the week when I started listening to this album, I would have said it was a good but not great Wilco Album; that it was Wilco at their safest doing what they do well and giving their fans another quality Wilco album. Sitting here now I must confess I have continued to listen to the album on a daily basis and must have heard  it, at least 7 times in full and tracks 3 to 6 (played in sequence) at least a dozen times. Those 4 tracks, One Wing, Bull Black Nova, You And I, and You Never Know are a reflection of everything that is great about Wilco: songs that build in tempo, that pull you in emotionally with an intensity that demands you listen and listen and listen. Bull Black Nova is a classic example, the song starts with one note being played over and over again, this builds into a repetitive riff that is played almost throughout the whole of the song, It keeps coming back louder and higher in the mix, building whilst Tweedy sings about, “Blood on the Sofa, Blood in The Sink, Blood in the Trunk “with a menace of a serial killer. The song is very hypnotic and gets more frenetic the longer it goes on before finishing leaving you wondering what is coming next. The genius of Tweedy is that he follows this with a beautiful country style romantic ballad (You and I) with Leslie Feist (from the wonderful Feist) adding the female vocal. Wilco’s ability to marry these styles is what I love about them, both very different but both sounding like Wilco, if that makes sense?

Purists would say that the best place to start if you were new to Wilco would be Summerteeth or maybe Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, I would say their back catalogue is so strong it  doesn’t matter -  dive in and enjoy!

Mark 8/10

1 comment:

  1. I only got to Wilco via their collaborations with Billy Bragg on the Woody Guthrie stuff - a band I need to dig deeper into