Autumn Defense The Green Hour

Is there any point in calling Wilco an alt-country band anymore? Summerteeth certainly sent that message, and this project by bassist John Stirratt and former drummer Ken Coomer, along with multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, is a continuation of that sunny pop experiment. The Green Hour actually sounds more like a lost XTC album. The only traces of Stirratt's rustic sensibilities show up in "Revolutionary Mind," a timely Woody Guthrie lyric discovered during the Mermaid Avenue sessions, here placed in an unexpected, loungy setting. The most rewarding aspect of the Autumn Defense is that there was no indication Stirratt had this in him. Wilco is seemingly so dominated by the Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett partnership that it's curious now to wonder how much Stirratt has actually contributed. His "It's Just That Simple" on AM was twangy filler, but if "Long Forgotten Love" or "Recuperating From The War" had appeared on Summerteeth, they would have been standouts just as much as they are here. Hopefully, The Green Hour won't be overshadowed by the upcoming Wilco album. It deserves to be heard just as much. (Independent)