Self-produced, Wilco’s ninth studio album, The Whole Love, finds the band tweaking and playing with their fomat and sound. This has resulted in an ecclectic and thoroughly enjoyable album from the band.
Opening track “Art Of Almost” is probably the most radical departure for what people expect from Wilco, especially with its thunderous closing act, reminiscent of ’90s alternative bands such as Sonic Youth or Husker Du rather than the country-influenced Wilco of old.
Over the course of 12 tracks, the band very much downplayed the country element to their sound. While it is still in influence on many tracks, especially the gorgeous closing track “One Sunday Morning”, the album displays a more indie pop character to it. The unexpected screaming guitars on “Born Alone” is another case of the band tweaking their template and playing with that the expect from themselves on a musical level.
It is at times a contradictory album in its moods and sounds. However, there seems to be a sense of focus to whatever the band does, and it lacks that ‘throw paint at the wall and see what sticks’ attitude that can unfortunately happen with this approach to music.
A highly enjoyable album from a very underrated band.
- Neil Evans
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