Music Review: Wilco’s Star Wars is a roughhewn, fuzzed-out blast

In an email sent to Wilco’s mailing list, Jeff Tweedy characterized the band’s surprise-released record Star Wars as “a jolt of joy: a fun surprise.” Although words such as “fun,” “joy,” and (on recent albums) “surprise” aren’t sentiments generally equated with the band’s music, his description is dead on: Star Wars is loose, dense, and deeply weird in unexpected, delightful ways. Starting with the short, discordant instrumental opener “EKG,” which recalls Sonic Youth’s maelstroms, the album doesn’t sandpaper Wilco’s coarser instincts or tendencies. Although concise, Star Wars‘ songs are jammed full of ideas, and feature murky vocals, frayed acoustic riffs, fuzzed-out choppy guitars, and smudged distortion.

The result is music containing multiple layers of intrigue. On the slashing highlight “Random Name Generator,” Tweedy plays call and response with a twisted guitar, as a cacophony of psychedelic sound effects and space-alien keyboards lurk underneath …

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