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Album Review: Wilco - 'Cousin'

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Alternative legends Wilco are back with their newest release Cousin which drops everywhere this Friday! Interestingly, for the first time since their 2002 release Yankee Hotel Foxtrot the band chose to work with an outside producer. Choosing to work with Welsh artist Cate Le Bon. The band met Le Bon at their own Solid Sound Festival and began working on these songs in 2019 initially. The result is something unlike Wilco has ever put out before.

The instrumentation on this one clearly has Le Bon's influence. Jeff Tweedy's vocals provide a familiar source of joy that's highlighted within the music. It's just great to see a band that has been around for more than 30 years and seemingly done it all continue to push their boundaries. The melodies blast through on the third track on the album, "Levee" where tinged guitar lines meet Tweedy's vocals and it's all moved along by the percussion. The result is a jam worthy to dance to, that might not be meant to be, but you still feel the need to.

The band is perhaps at their most playful rhythmically on "Sunlight Ends" employing a sort of jingle that teases the listener. For years critics placed the boulder of Wilco being America's answer to England's Radiohead on this band. Rather unfairly we would say. We don't see the two as comparable, especially as their careers have evolved. Yes, they've both pushed boundaries and that's about it. Sonically, they are so different. Also, we ask why not love both?

Here as mentioned, Wilco push themselves because it's the natural thing to do. Just as they did with Cruel Country their previous release. Tweedy and co. are a band that aren't bothered by heights, they continually dance on the ledge with their music and are brilliant for it. There are times where people talk about being fortunate to watch an athlete perform in their lifetime. We are fortunate that Wilco performs in ours.

Rating - 5/5

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