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Album Review: Wilco - Star Wars

21 July 2015 | 5:04 pm | Ross Clelland

"Now it's all going on."

More Wilco More Wilco

Besides loving that I can write the phrase "When I last spoke to Jeff Tweedy," he claimed Wilco were looking to "surprise themselves" and "get a bit more fucked up". Well, the surprise element is here, Star Wars dropping without warning and offered up for free. Strange days indeed.

The other element perhaps relies on your own relationship with the band. Where once they had albums either veering to the experimental or happily cruising on sheer melody and craft, now it's all going on — yet remaining pretty coherent. Start at the beginning with the sometimes jagged guitar squelching of EKG, and you wonder if they're entering their Beefheart or Neil Young circa-Arc stage. But that drifts into More, where some early-'70s glam/Bowie might've been the soundtrack in the tour bus — although the electronic hum of the later Magnetized suggests some of The Duke's Berlin-era work might've also been on that mixtape.

There's some 'comfort zone' Wilco, if that's what you're after, although the strummed Where Do I Begin has a rather mental guitar wigout towards the end, and Taste The Ceiling some sonic weirdness going on between/beneath the organ.

As with the best Wilco, favourites will change day to day. Star Wars is loose, tight, a band having a long, buzzy, garage jam across a range of moods. They do all this in about a half-hour. Best band in America? Maybe. Most determined in playing with their own identity? Certainly.