1999 album from the Americana/Alt-Rock band formed by guitarist/songwriter Jeff Tweedy.
Wilco's de facto frontman, Jeff Tweedy, sports a colorful past, one where he wrote paint-peelers dedicated to late Minutemen
founder D. Boon as a member of the feted (and maybe fated) Uncle Tupelo
and where he dolefully crooned Woody Guthrie lyrics on 1998's Mermaid Avenue
. But Wilco's Summer Teeth
shows hardly a tatter of Tweedy's herky-jerky postpunk intensity or the agrarian rootsiness that so often came in the past from him. Instead this layered album spreads its digits far into guitar-heavy Britpop, with full-group backing vocals carrying bouncy choruses and synths whistling over the melodies. The tunes sound like a crosshatch of orchestral plans and an execution drawing on Alex Chilton and Big Star
, the Kinks
, and, only distantly, Wilco's debut, A.M.
"We're Just Friends" and "Via Chicago" stand as harmonized twists on ballad formulas, the latter recalling Mermaid Avenue
's "California Stars" with the opening line, "I dreamed about killing you again last night / And it felt all right to me." So it's not always uplifting or cheery, but it's got dozens of surprises in a mere 15 songs. --Andrew Bartlett