Star Wars

Written by: BV on 28/07/2015 19:55:17

I would be deemed a terrible liar if I were to say I’ve been in on the whole Wilco thing for a while now. As a matter of fact I only just began listening to them after I started writing reviews for this very site, as my musical appetite simply grew stronger to a point where I felt like I couldn’t really ignore them anymore, even though they hadn’t yet managed to impress me with what little snippets I had heard up until that point. It all changed, naturally, and I was to grow particularly fond of “Sky Blue Sky” after having backtracked my way there. - Noticing then, that Wilco had returned with a new album titled “Star Wars” my curiosity was awakened once more, yet with a hint of hesitation primarily attached to the album title.

It’s evident from the very beginning of “Star Wars” that my hesitation is somewhat justified. Whereas Wilco have seemingly always managed to drift through the various types of pigeonholing attached to their sound, “Star Wars” immediately seems like a way for Wilco to simply escape expectations once more. It seems forced though, and from the beginning of tracks like “Random Name Generator” and beyond, it appears to simply be an exercise in quirky songwriting and random guitar effects added in for good measure –sprinkled with a hefty dose of ‘adventurous’ spirit – eventually offering up some very confusing tracks as a result. Take “You Satellite”’s monotonous droning and underlying cacophony as a prime example of this, as the track seemingly builds up to go absolutely nowhere. More often than not, strange effects are introduced to the mix but they never really prove beneficial for the build-up – thus only delaying the inevitable end to a somewhat meandering track.

There are still tracks on “Star Wars” that sound quite enjoyable. “Taste the Ceiling” is Wilco being Wilco for all that entails. It’s mellow alt-country, dad-rock or whatever the hell you want to call it – for me, it’s Wilco when they’re best. The steady groove and Tweedy’s mellow vocals remind me of “Impossible Germany” in some passages, although in a slightly more upbeat setting and it is on cuts like these Wilco not only seem focused, but also seem to have a purpose other than just instantaneously releasing a free album which will inevitably fly under the radar for most anyway, due to its lack of hype and promotion.

Looking beyond its lawsuit-inviting album title and its quirky sonic (mis)adventures, “Star Wars” might just be most loose and playful Wilco album to date – although that may count as a highly positive thing, the songwriting here is just not on par with any of their other releases. Whatever you may make of this album, however, you’ve somehow got to respect the band’s devotion to trying out new stuff.

Download: Taste the Ceiling, Where Do I Begin
For The Fans Of: Uncle Tupelo, Tweedy, Ryan Adams
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 17.07.2015

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