A Ghost Is Born

Nonesuch Records

Wilco’s evolutionary days appear to be over — at least for now.

Their first album, “A.M.,” was cut from the same mold as the band that spawned them: the alt-country outfit Uncle Tupelo. Their second, double-disc affair, “Being There,” saw the group spreading its wings and trying a little straight-ahead pop here and there. The third release, “Summerteeth,” was completely bereft of twang, and paved the way for a wave of bands to make albums that paid homage to their LP collections, in this case mainly the Beatles and the Beach Boys with a dash of Neil Young. The fourth CD, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” benefited from record-label rejection, leakage to the Internet, free streaming on Wilco’s website, a documentary about the making of the album and, last but not least, a new record company deal; plus it was simply an amazing piece of work, with the group seemingly settling on an identity.

And now we have “A Ghost Is Born,” which is a little schizophrenic but excellent nonetheless. There are songs with extended guitar solos; experimental exercises in the vein of their previous effort; and, surprisingly, a few tunes that almost go back to Wilco’s country/folk beginnings. But for the first time, their new record isn’t a complete change from the last one, a move that’s neither good nor bad; in fact, it’s moot, because Wilco’s worst tunes are better than those of countless other artists these days.

1. At Least That’s What You Said
2. Hell Is Chrome
3. Spiders (Kidsmoke)
4. Muzzle Of Bees
5. Hummingbird
6. Handshake Drugs
7. Wishful Thinking
8. Company In My Back
9. I’m A Wheel
10. Theologians
11. Less Than You Think
12. The Late Greats

Total time: 1.1 hours

External Links
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