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Down With Wilco
     

Down With Wilco

by The Minus 5
 

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Since its formation, the Minus 5 has been a supergroup of sorts, led by Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows/R.E.M. sideman) and Peter Buck (R.E.M.). As the title would suggest, they are joined this time around by all four members of Wilco, the group responsible for the most

Overview

Since its formation, the Minus 5 has been a supergroup of sorts, led by Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows/R.E.M. sideman) and Peter Buck (R.E.M.). As the title would suggest, they are joined this time around by all four members of Wilco, the group responsible for the most talked-about recording of both 2001 and 2002 (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot). Down with Wilco was to be released by a major label until it suffered the same fate as YHF, when it was suddenly shelved. Like that album, it deserved better and was eventually emancipated by the indie Yep Roc in 2003. While Down with Wilco doesn't match the quality of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (a difficult task, as this is one of the best releases of the early 21st century), it's unsurprising that they both have similar sounds, via the use of synthesizers, various percussion effects, and horns. The record is tighter as well -- not as spatial as YHF. Wilco is effectively transformed into the Wrecking Crew by McCaughey and Buck, both huge fans of the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson's technique of saturating the tape with music. In many ways, the disc updates experimental '60s pop, conjuring up the Beatles, the Byrds, Syd Barrett, as well as the aforementioned Beach Boys. "That's Not the Way It's Done" even emulates the synth-driven -- and often misunderstood -- Beach Boys 1977 release Love You. And then there's "The Old Plantation," which sounds tailor-made for early-'70s AM radio. McCaughey even draws upon old friend and colleague Paul Westerberg, romanticizing failure in "Dear Employer" and "Days of Wine and Booze." This collective has always represented the darker elements of McCaughey's personality, but the depression is kept in check here by Wilco's solid and often upbeat backing, thus playing a major role in the most enjoyable Minus 5 release yet.

Editorial Reviews

Rolling Stone - Rob Sheffield
It's a Saturday-night version of [Wilco's Yankee Hotel] Foxtrot: laid-back, poignant and comic.
Entertainment Weekly - David Browne
[A] set of rueful ersatz bubble-gum. (B)

Product Details

Release Date:
02/25/2003
Label:
Yep Roc Records
UPC:
0634457205222
catalogNumber:
2052
Rank:
257876

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Minus 5   Primary Artist
Brian Paulson   Box
Jessy   Strings,Violin,Cello,Voices

Technical Credits

Scott McCaughey   Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Kurt Bloch   Artwork
Peter Buck   Contributor
Christy McWilson   Contributor
Sean O'Hagan   Contributor
John Stirratt   Contributor
Ken Stringfellow   Contributor
Jeff Tweedy   Arranger,Producer
Leroy Bach   Contributor
Mikael   Arranger,Producer
Mike Jorgensen   Engineer
Charlie Francis   Engineer
Scott Ferril   Engineer
Gates   Contributor
Kotche   Contributor
Jesse Green   Arranger

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