Wilco
Sky Blue Sky
(Nonesuch)
After the alt-rock masterpiece Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco's A Ghost is Born was even darker and delved deeper into avant-garde composition. Each album featured some of Jeff Tweedy's finest work, but both alienated many of the early Wilco fans who loved the band's Americana style. Sky Blue Sky walks away from those experimental overtones to become Wilco's most accessible work since Summerteeth. Tweedy and crew flush out the past, making gorgeous music without the harsh and often haunting melodies that graced Wilco's earlier discs. Sky Blue Sky owes more perhaps to early '70s Southern California folk- and soft-rock than to any other sound. While that would be a deterrent for just about any other release, in this case it works in the band's favour. Though Tweedy stepped back and wrote the songs in the studio with the band, his genius for writing and arranging music is evident throughout. Taking cues from solo McCartney, Grateful Dead, Nilsson and The Byrds, it will take fans by surprise (as will the solos and support work from avant-garde guitar god Nels Cline). Sky Blue Sky sees a more mature band testing new frontiers and revisiting old ones. The continuing factor is Jeff Tweedy's canny ability to write some of most heartfelt and intelligent songs of his generation.
Trevor MacLaren
categories: Coast pick

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