Wilco - Schmilco

by Rob Taylor Rating:5 Release Date:2016-09-09

I remain on the Jay Farrar side of the Uncle Tupelo equation, although as to whose ego copped the most bruising from Farrar and Jeff Tweedy’s separation, I’ll never know. What I do know is that Farrar, with his band, Son Volt, opted for more fuelled-up punk country, whereas Tweedy took the softer FM route with Wilco. Their respective temperaments were probably best highlighted just there.

Wilco has always been the beveled, less fractured and less down home version of alt-country. Therein lies the boundary between Americana and Alt-Country perhaps. Tweedy sure has a facility for writing a tune, probably more so than Farrar, however Wilco for me has always seemed low on wattage to the point of being faintly insipid, and intent on smothering a dismal theme with a pretty tune. Baby, all I need is a shot in the arm.   

Of course, Wilco's Roadcase series of live concerts prove they can rock out live, even if sharing 55 odd concerts with your fans seems another jam band indulgence designed to devalue a legacy. Hey, whatever. Probably good accounting. Hop over to Wilcoworld.com if you want one.

Don’t get my tone wrong. Schmilco has some really pretty tunes, but like having a smiling evangelist at my front door, I just want to slam it shut as quickly as possible. It's probably a perceptual issue, because when I first heard Wilco, I also heard Son Volt, Drive by Truckers, Slobberbone, 16 Horsepower, Giant Sand, Lee Hazlewood, Grant Lee Buffalo, The Handsome Family, etc etc, and Wilco’s breezy pop with malcontents is just too skewed towards The Eagles brand of chilled Americana for my liking. 

Horses for courses and Wilco Schmilco.

 

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