The Whole Love
’s fourth straight album with the same lineup, a new milestone for the much-loved Chicago band. Stability in the musicians surrounding Jeff Tweedy
has brought stability in their music as well, as The Whole Love
fits nicely with the group’s recent Wilco (The Album)
and Sky Blue Sky
. Tweedy and company once more mix askew rockers, gentle folk-rock numbers and Nels Cline
’s guitarwork. Also, following their much-discussed label history (see: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
), this is the first album on Wilco’s own new dBpm Records
The Whole Love
opens with the 7+ minute “Art Of Almost,” which starts out with electronic textures, and builds into a massive guitar freakout from Cline. Mikael Jorgensen
’s keyboard sounds on “I Might” are a definite homage to Elvis Costello
’s sideman Steve Nieve
, circa 1979. The Nieve-style keyboards come back around on the rocking “Standing O,” which wouldn’t have been totally out of place on Being There
. There is a likable familiarity to “Dawned On Me” and the title cut.
Unfortunately, I can’t listen to the jaunty “Capitol City” without thinking of Tony Bennett
crooning in the classic Simpsons
episode “Dancin’ Homer.” The Whole Love
closes with the melodic, 12-minute “One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend).” Tweedy had said the band recorded basically an album’s worth of rocking songs and another group of mellower tunes, and The Whole Love seems to have evenly split the difference. The acoustic-based songs are lovely but for the most part fade into the background by the end.
A group that was constantly evolving over their first five releases, Wilco has settled into simply sounding like themselves on The Whole Love
. And that’s not a bad thing at all.