THE VINYL WORD: WILCO ‘THE WHOLE LOVE’

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Wilco is exciting because the band seeks to redefine our expectations for it with each record. And their new album, The Whole Love, continues that cycle to often brilliant effect.

The reason it’s constricting to pin Wilco down with definitions is because they are at their best when they pull the rug out from under themselves (and, by extension, us). Opener “Art of Almost” is as jarring as “Misunderstood” or “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”, but it sounds like no Wilco song you’ve ever heard. It’s a clean break, a move to establish a wholly new landscape for this record, and it works. Orchestral flourishes at the start could recall their lush sound on Summerteeth if they weren’t so shadowy and alien. The song blips and squawks behind the bleary-eyed plea of Tweedy’s voice. But if it feels lost, it finds its footing in the fits and freak-outs of guitar that come in crashing squalls at the end. It’s a distinct shift from other dissonant tunes in the Wilco catalog. This doesn’t devolve; it comes together, searching for its shards and knitting them together into one sharp entity. If The Whole Love marks a change in perspective, it’s in this. Tweedy acknowledges the lonesome feeling that’s followed him around his entire musical career, but here he often debunks it. The excellent “Born Alone”, for example, may rest on the line “I was born to die alone,” but the triumphant roll of guitars that follows it belies that sentiment. This is the sound of unification, not isolation.Pop Matters

OTHER NEW VINYL RELEASES:

Dum Dum Girls Only In Dreams
Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon
Sonia Leigh 1978 December
John Cale Extra Playful
Gem Club Breakers
Face To Face Laugh Now Laugh Later
Mike Doughty Yes & Also Yes
TV On The Radio New Health Rock
Evidence Cats & Dogs
Those Darlins Screws Get Loose/Prank Call

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