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Wilco: Sky Blue Sky


Wilco: Sky Blue Sky

Label:Nonesuch
Format:Album
Media:CD
Release Date:2007
Genre:Indie Rock

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 6/6/2007

Jeff Tweedy has described the studio sessions for Sky Blue Sky as the most relaxed in Wilco's tumultuous history. While this relative tranquility was no doubt a blessing and a relief for the frontman, the nth lineup of his alt-country "American Radiohead," and the families of all involved, it also makes for another rather pedestrian Wilco album. 2004's A Ghost Is Born was a noisily Krautrockin', Crazy Horse-ian fame-quash that willfully squandered the momentum built from 2002's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. If Sky is less off-putting than Ghost, it's just as disinterested in getting the patented Wilco tonal ratio right la earlier albums such as Summerteeth or Foxtrot: depressive, strung-out resignation stitched to songs that are just as wistfully dismal or else joyously fetching.

Tweedy and draft-pick guitar maestro Nels Cline do get off their share of magnificent hip shots. Envy Tweedy's dead-on elucidation of a withering downtown strip on the title track; dig on Cline's scene-stealing leads on the sonorous, sleepy "Impossible Germany" and "Side With the Seeds," a lively mash-up of the concluding breakdown of Pavement's "Stop Breathin" and Howling Hex-era Neil Michael Hagerty. "Leave Me (Like You Found Me)" alone strikes the proper balance, its concession-to-solitude theme fitting the transfixing, cozily plangent tune like a glove, pedal steel and all. Otherwise, the band piles up returns--the she-done-left-me soul patrol of "Hate It Here," the palsied-organ ambivalence of "Either Way," the acoustic pity-me memo "Please Be Patient With Me"--that aren't necessarily diminishing but that just can't touch the rarified highs of Wilco classics like "She's a Jar" or "Kamera."

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