Wilco : Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Love, war and Jim O'Rourke...

There’s love, there’s the war on terror, and for [a]Wilco[/a], both are a battlefield. ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ sees the former country rockers streamlining their sound down to a painful bareness, and telling us how they hurt.
And, ouch, fingernails down the blackboard, it works brilliantly. In the songs of ex-Uncle Tupelo man Jeff Tweedy tall buildings shake, light is obscured behind the veil of tears, while Jim O’Rourke, the Zelig of alternative music, is on hand to pour sonic salt in the wounds.
Really, it’s just as well. ‘I Am Trying To Break Your Heart’ liberally casts desolation from track one, and in spite of the ‘White Album’ joy ‘I’m The Man Who Loves You’ and a couple of Pavement-y frolics, it’s a gripping darkness that doesn’t often lift. It’s hard going, but it’s worth it, and that is undoubtedly their point.

John Robinson