Friday, December 26, 2003

Looks like I've fallen a day behind, but I'll catch up by the end of the year...

#7: The Minus 5Down With Wilco

R.E.M. part-time sideman and Young Fresh Fellows leader Scott McCaughey adds Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Leroy Bach and Glenn Kotche of Wilco to his usual cast of characters that includes Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and Ken Stringfellow (The Posies), for this past year’s best Wilco-related project. McCaughey and Co. create an infectious blend of Beatles-inspired indie-pop that is neither guilty of employing the same old retro-formula, a la countless of other bands attempting to conquer this trendy sub-genre, nor of taking itself too seriously (see the Jim O’Rourke/Wilco collaboration Loose Fur).

Jeff Tweedy only takes the lead vocals on one track, “The Family Gardener”, and it is hardly the album’s shining moment, so this is definitely McCaughey’s baby. However, the Wilco influence does add some wonderful, but subtle, eclectic touches that complement McCaughey’s affection for frolicking power pop. A few of the many highlights include the ode to having once been, “Retrieval of You”, the wandering jangle-pop of “Where Will You Go?”, the hints of E.L.O. in “The Old Plantation”, and “View from Below”, which sounds reminiscent of something that I just can’t put my finger on. I guess you’ll just have to hear for yourself.

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