"Sky Blue Sky" has hints of early-seventies Southern California folk-rock sweetness in the harmonies. The album is filled with brash guitar solos that take songs like "You Are My Face" and "Shake It Off" in unexpected directions.
After their wild experimental streak of the past decade, Wilco's sixth studio album might feel like a bit of a comedown. Sky Blue Sky
is mellow, moody, and uncharacteristically monotone, opening with a pleasant jangle and Jeff Tweedy singing a simple song: "Maybe the sun will shine today, the clouds will blow away." He doesn't even follow it up with a barbed punchline. Could it be that the restless Chicago band has settled back into its gentle Americana roots--or does this sudden mid-career reappraisal represent Wilco's gutsiest move yet? Mostly written in the studio by the full band, it's certainly the group's most cohesive album in ages, presenting a dense song cycle padded with intricate guitar work, brushed rhythms, and '70s soft-rock accents. In places it sounds like Wings ("Hate It Here"), in others Harry Nilsson ("Walken"), and in the middle it goes a bit Grateful Dead ("Shake It Off"). At the same time, there's a distinct sense of hearing a band finally at ease in its own skin. Sky Blue Sky
represents the sound of Wilco finally pulling through its petulant adolescence. --Aidin Vaziri