Sunday, June 10, 2007

silver linings: wilco, catpower and bjork's latest

maybe it was the anticipation.
maybe it was too much of a good thing.

having had a few listens to the new wilco album _sky blue sky_, it pains me to say that i have found myself skipping tracks. i don't mind a bit of country, i don't even mind the wall of noise experimenting - i could even put up with noodling...for a while..., but i should just accept that i don't dig on the 70s west coast sound.

it's true that i often expect too much (of everything!) but i must confess i'm disappointed. there's still the odd lap steel flourish and tweedy's sighing, melancholic voice is in fine form but the pace feels too slow or too relaxed; there's an intensity lacking. there are more empty spaces in the songs and the arrangements don't seem as sharp. the restlessness and turbulence at force during their recent live performances are starkly missing.

c'mon jfox, i hear you say. this is jeff tweedy as his most chirpy and happy. he's shrugged off his drug addled demons, he has a stable family, a stable band - he's h.a.p.p.y.
why doncha leave him alone!

all i can say is, i'm happy that jeff's happy...maybe it'll grow on me?

not to say it's completely unlistenable. it's a great weekend album, lazing away in bed with the papers and a cup of coffee in the mornings. overall though, this album is not as compelling as their back catalogue. looking forward to the next one...


in the meantime, i have been enjoying cat power's latest "the greatest" in the last few months. it's a summery, warm album with the gentle voice of chan marshall. current favourite track is "islands" which makes me want to jet off to a beach with a pina colada, a good book and a man waving a palm frond over me ;D


also, bjork's new album volta landed in my mitts courtesy of cobs, cheers! it's the first time i've listened to a complete album since _post_ more than a decade ago *gulp*. i don't always dig what she does (the dogme musical??) but i love that she doesn't bow to current or retro fads. in a pop culture landscape that is often monotonous or a cheap tease, the mere thought of bjork forging on and stretching herself is enough to keep searching for something new. i love that her art is undeniably of her spirit.

in _volta_, it's reassuring to hear that bjork remains agitated, dynamic and creative. this is perhaps most apparent in the opening track 'earth intruders' or 'innocence'. in quieter tracks, bjork uses simple arrangements to mix traditional instruments - indigenous or more classical- to complement her voice.

A sense of insistence is created with bjork's trademark angular electronic beats and stylings, a core element of her work and a constant undertone to this album.

it may well be that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but after listening to this latest offering, i'm tempted to revisit her more recent albums _vespertine_ or _medulla_. _volta_ is well worth checking out.


Jaye said...

I love bjork- because of her creativity and experimental sounds. I haven't yet heard Volta (besides earth intruders which jjj enthusiastically played for a month or so..) but dang, vespertine is awesome. It's the soundtrack for my echoy brain. Medulla is heavier going, and definately not something i play often.. it's amazing that she thought of orchestrating an album using only voices.
yay bjork!

yossarian said...

where was the above photo taken? beautiful!!

could never quite get my head around bjork ... i like her early stuff but have since lost track. still haven't got my mitts on the new wilco - am still buzzing from summerteeth! i agree though, a h.a.p.p.y jeff tweedy is a good thing ;-)