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Wilco – Sky Blue Sky

 

The most guitar-heavy album yet from Wilco has Jeff Tweedy, Nels Cline, and Pat Sansone weaving parts like insane musical tailors. A perfect example is “Impossible Germany,” which starts with lovely guitar that (after a Tweedy vocal) morphs into a guitar symphony. It’s not what you expect, even as their approach and style have changed since Cline joined the band a few years ago.

While that’s the most obvious example of the guitar work, there are others. “Side with the Seeds” features swirling strings and guitar midway, with monster soloing out. “Hate It Here” is a melancholy tune about a guy wondering through the house he used to share with his lost love, and the several solos, full of descending lines and soul, are a perfect match to the lyrics.

Even with the interesting six-string work on every cut, there’s a lot more to like about this offering; like Tweedy’s vocals, which have a “dry” sound most performers eschew these days. No effects, just straight-ahead delivery of the lyrics (all of which are wonderful). And the songs have great changes, often deviating from the norm. And of course the overall style is laid back. Between Tweedy’s excellent, sometimes obtuse lyrics and the fascinating music, this is one of the best records of the year.



This article originally appeared in VG‘s Oct. ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.


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