Wilco’s latest album is a true culmination of everything the band has done. The Whole Love pulls sounds from the experimental folk-rock of 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and the straightforward rock of 2009’s Wilco.
The seven-minute-long epic opener “Art of Almost” starts with a barrage of loops and sounds not unlike the opener on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. First single “I Might” is a great up-tempo track, covered with fuzz guitars that recall an earlier Wilco sound.
“Dawned on Me,” currently my favourite track, is instantly memorable. It’s a song of desperation with a chorus that is guaranteed to get stuck in your head, thanks to Tweedy’s perfectly imperfect delivery. “Born Alone” also stands out, opening with a melodic, clean guitar riff that’s soon joined by another great vocal melody that contrasts the melancholy of lyrics like “sadness is my luxury.” Fans who dismissed Sky Blue Sky & Wilco as boring “dad-rock” will be pleased with the return of more experimental aspects of production on The Whole Love.
The album does drag a bit with a few too many down-tempo songs, but it’s refreshing to hear a band as late into their career as Wilco still moving in different directions.