Autumn Defense Once Around

Autumn Defense Once Around
Most people have no idea which band John Stirratt and Patrick Sansone play in, as they're hidden at the back in Wilco. But in side-project the Autumn Defense, it's all about them, and that's why it sounds dramatically different. Clearly their full-time job keeps them rather busy, because with just four albums in ten years, there's little urgency in the Autumn Defense's music, literally or figuratively. The songs on Once Around go from jangly acoustic pop to mid-tempo acoustic pop, and aren't a million miles removed from the type of thing Crowded House have been doing for some time. This could be attributed to the duo's involvement in Neil Finn's 7 World's Collide project, but it doesn't explain the mid-'70s prog-rock influence that rears its head from time to time. When it gels, as on the epic title track, it's easy to make a good case that Stirratt and Sansone should spend all their time in the Autumn Defense. Yet there are far too many pedestrian, MOR moments to sustain that argument. It's all very pleasant, but it isn't time for them to quit their day jobs. (Yep Roc)