A GHOST IS BORN (NONESUCH)
Like its two previous releases (Summerteeth, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot), Wilco’s latest takes a few listens to wrap your head around what you’re hearing. Is it rock? Roots music? Country? Experimental? Yes, it is, and the more you spin it, the better it gets. Special kudos go to frontman Jeff Tweedy, who has always been an accomplished guitarist, but this time around he either has some new gear to play or he’s been working on his licks, ’cause his lead-guitar work shines with fuzzy solos peppered all over the album. Included in the eclectic 12 tracks is “Spiders (kidsmoke),” an older tune played at the occasional live show that’s been reworked with the addition of a retro-sounding keyboard part reminiscent of circa-1980s Cars material. Following this is the perfect-for-a-road-trip “Muzzle of Bees” and “Hummingbird,” which sounds like a lost Beatles tune. Interesting, since the album was mastered at the famed Abbey Road Studios.
— James E. Mayfield