After Jeff Tweedy assembled, what he declared, "the best Wilco line-up ever" in 2007, the sextet released the very straightforward, and dare I say boring, Sky Blue Sky
. Wilco sounded more interesting with 2009's Wilco (the Album)
, but still seemed too top heavy with seasoned musicians to produce something so sing-songy.
The Whole Love
is a strong argument for the current lineup's need to convey Tweedy's ideas. The brilliant early sonic deconstruction, water drip keyboards, and impeccable pushing bass on "Art of Almost" (the album opener and exclamation), builds "wasteland" abstractions through a straw, to a lesson in explosive krautrock. "Dawned On Me" has a genuine "fresh" pop quality to it that seemed missing from recent Wilco recordings and "Black Moon" possesses enough intrigue to carry you on to the tasty bass workout, "Born Alone." The album ends nearly as strong as it starts with the cyclical 12-minute closer, "One Sunday Morning" as Tweedy gives his (often used) equation of life, death, and frustrations with God.
The Whole Love is not the most cohesive album under the Wilco name and rides into familiar terrain from the countrified rock on "Open Mind" and "Capital City." Easily drawing comparisons to AM-era Wilco. The Whole Love, is by no means a masterpiece, but does find Wilco focused and ambitious, even if that energy is centered on reminiscing the Wilcos of the past. - Ethan Barrons