Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Vinyl)

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Named in honour of the three-word codes used by short-wave radio operators, Wilco's fourth album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sounds like a late-night broadcast of some weirdly wonderful pop station punctuated by static and the sonic bleed of competing signals. Songs that begin with simple, elegiac grace--"Ashes of American Flags" and "Poor Places"--end in a cathartic squall of distortion. The results can be initially jarring, but it's these tracks more than the sturdy jangle pop of "Kamera" or "Heavy Metal Drummer" that demand, and reward, repeated listens.

Mixed by studio experimentalist Jim O'Rourke and produced by the band, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot harkens back to a time when the words "pop" and "sonic adventurism" weren't mutually exclusive. The Beatles and Kurt Cobain knew this, and clearly so do Jeff Tweedy and company.

Weaving an expansive patchwork of Americana, folk rock, and experimental indie rock, Wilco for ever make a name for themselves with their iconic fourth album, highlighting the best of their alternative country days and marking a shift to a far more minimalistic approach, featuring heavy effects, droning noise clips, and beautiful arrangements. Piano keys twinkle in front of effervescent synth lines; strings weep and dance about sorrowfully; Jeff's voice, as if he recorded the vocal tracks immediately after waking from his slumber, cracks and aches; yet the entire album is driving and forward-moving -- the life of one song rising from the smoldering embers of another --, and takes no stops to admire the scenery, as if presenting a panorama of a gray, lifeless wasteland. From the incredibly obscure and devoid imagery painted in "Ashes of American Flags" and "Reservations" -- two songs that capture the essence of emotional devastation and retrospective ideology highlighted in the album -- to the perfectly composed, lushly orchestrated tracks of "Heavy Metal Drummer" and "I'm the Man Who Loves You" -- a couple of the more cheerful, up-tempo yet similarly themed tracks on the compilation --, the album really delivers in every aspect and attempt, constituting an absolutely incredible work of art, and one of the band's bests.

By: Ms3abden

A1 I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
A2 Kamera
A3 Radio Cure
B1 War On War
B2 Jesus, Etc.
B3 Ashes Of American Flags
C1 Heavy Metal Drummer
C2 I'm The Man Who Loves You
C3 Pot Kettle Black
D1 Poor Places
D2 Reservations

Catalogue Number:  LP 6161

Record Label:  Nonesuch / Sundazed

Produced by: Wilco