Wilco – Sky Blue Sky

WilcoAnd lo, it comes over the horizon with barely a fanfare or media hoo-ha. Wilco’s sixth studio album has arrived with hardly anyone paying attention (or maybe that’s because I get UK music magazines a month or two late). Sky Blue Sky doesn’t carry the weight of the artist vs label struggle that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot came with, and neither the post-rehab album stigma of A Ghost Is Born. Instead this album has to stand on it’s own merits (that’s not a reflection on their two previous albums which were both wonderful), and Sky Blue Sky does that on it’s simplicity. On the accompanying DVD (which is well worth shelling out a couple of extra bucks for), Jeff Tweedy says that he simply wanted to write and sing some songs and you can plainly hear that on the album.

There’s no layers of sonic noise disguising the songs anymore or 15 minute long, Krautrock jams on this album (good or bad thing, that depends on your taste). Sky Blue Sky is firmly rooted in Wilco’s country origins, even though they are slightly skewed. The group, now a six piece, sound comfortable together and work together as a whole. Lyrically, Sky Blue Sky is melancholy without being overtly miserable. “Please Be Patient With Me” is a tender plea to Tweedy’s wife, whilst “On And On And On”. Indeed the more affecting tracks are the slower ones, invariably ones that are just piano and acoustic guitar.

That’s not to say there’s no excitement on the record, “Side With Seeds” dizzying guitar work is brilliant, so is the jerking chorus on “Shake It Off”. This is a much more measured album, that the Wilco records of late. It’s the bands least challenging, but it’s maybe the most accessible and warmest album of recent years. The songs give me a warm glowing feeling of a degree of being content. Maybe that’s all the world needs right now.

Wilco – What Light:

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