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Indie legends Wilco, who have been one of the leading bands in the underground for over a decade, released the aptly titled Schmilco on September 9th. Schmilco sees a softer, more acoustic side to the band compared to its predecessor Star Wars which was released only a year ago. Jeff Tweedy, the man behind Wilco, gets incredibly introspective with songs like “If I Ever Was a Child” and “Normal American Kids”. Jeff is getting older, and he’s ok with that. Schmilco is far less experimental than Wilco’s famed releases Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Summerteeth. The record sees Tweedy returning to his roots in country, rock and folk which is a refreshing avenue for a band that has had such a prolific output.
One of the obvious standouts from the new record is “If I Ever Was a Child” which was released as a single a few weeks before the whole record came out. Its lyrical content is somewhat dark, while the instrumental music and the melody are quite light and innocent, a juxtaposition that Tweedy is famous for. “Cry All Day” sees the same moods surfacing. “Locator”, the song that was released a year from the day “Star Wars” came out, was our first indication of a new record from the Chicago band. “Locator” is much more in the vein of the previous record with an uneasy chord change and Niles Cline’s biting, distorted guitar. It’s the only sign, for the most part, that Wilco could still have some crazy records to come.
“We Aren’t The World (Safety Girl)”, the second to last song on the record, is a personal favorite. It shows a much less bitter Wilco, though bitter Wilco is a great Wilco. “Safety Girl” is Wilco in the summer, and a bright, optimistic one at that. Tweedy really manages to capture an innocence on this record that he might not have ever been able to, and you can tell when listening to the record that he is very content with the system him and his band have.
It’s not Rock n’ Roll, it’s not experimental, but it’s relaxed and loose. We’re always waiting to hear more from Wilco, but “Schmilco” is an easy listen, and a record that we can definitely sink our teeth into for a while.
What did you think of Wilco’s tenth studio album? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!