Comprising frontman Jeff Tweedy and other former members of alt.country legend Uncle Tupelo, Wilco was an apple that didn't fall far from the tree. A.M.
, the band's debut, continues that older group's brand of updated country-rock (emphasis on "rock") and emotionally powerful songwriting. However, many of the best creations here--the driver's-licenseless drunk in "Passenger Side," the bar-band celebration of riverboat gambling on "Casino Queen"--sport an unprecedented sense of humor and are unexpectedly catchy, too. Best of all might be "It's Just That Simple," in which Tweedy turns the mic over to the high and mournful singing of bassist John Stirratt. --David Cantwell