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Album Review
The Whole Love

The Whole Love
by Wilco


Review Date
22nd September 2011
Reviewed by
Ivy Rossiter

Wilco carries their history with them. As each of their albums has opened doors on new territories to explore, the band has borne the battered suitcases of their past to open and unpack amongst the new surroundings of innovation and reinterpretation of their sound. Wilco’s new record The Whole Love triumphantly embodies both old and new; both revision and exploration; nostalgia and anticipation.

The album opens with the seven minute long epic “Art Of Almost”, treading entirely new ground with grooving, beeping synthesizers mating with a luscious string section making up the foundation for the instrumental. Tweedy’s vocal is the sole connection to any prior Wilco experience until a huge buildup and Nels Cline’s nearly 3 minute long solo takes over in a swathe of distortion and clapping, barking drums.

Wilco is in their element with singles “I Might” and “Born Alone”, pop songs with satisfying rotations of light and dark, acoustic and rock. The softer moments in “Black Moon” and “Open Mind” hearken to 2007’s Sky Blue Sky; “Capitol City” to Summerteeth; “Whole Love” to 2009’s sassy Wilco (The Album).

Unfortunately, there is one small blemish to one song on the album. I would be remiss to ignore “Dawned On Me”s undeniable homage/soundalike to Supergrass’s “Alright”. The song is catchy, a great danceable track, with an incredibly memorable hook - it’s just unfortunate that same hook teeters on the line between homage and carbon-paper territory.

Despite the similarity of “Dawned On Me” to its aforementioned British song-brother, I can’t help but love this album. This is a joyous record. The satisfaction and ease that permeates The Whole Love never lays back complacent, but instead exudes a sense of delight that feels well at home in it’s multifarious instrumental housing. Each track embodies something different and specific that I love about each period of their career. Wilco’s baggage anchors them, and their vision makes this album fly.


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