Loose Fur Born Again in the USA

From the opening cock rock riffage of "Hey Chicken,” it’s clear that this is a much different version of Jeff Tweedy, Jim O’Rourke and Glen Kotche’s side project than the experimental team that made the first Loose Fur release. And coming on the heels of Wilco’s equally pretentious A Ghost Is Born, Born Again in the USA is a welcome blast of the greasy kid stuff that’s always been at the heart of Tweedy’s best songwriting. And even when things teeter on the brink of self-indulgence, as during the many not-so-subtle references to King Crimson and Yes, it’s done with a knowing wink that this is simply three guys exploring previously untapped musical instincts. O’Rourke’s contributions — "Answers To Your Questions” and "Stupid as the Sun” best among them — also benefit from the spontaneous recording approach. It all soon resembles something close to a trio of basement stoners taking a stab at British prog rock. Yet, as this album proves, such an attitude often produces results much more enjoyable than actual British prog rock. Sure, this album will probably end up another footnote in each of Tweedy and O’Rourke’s respective discographies, but at least for its duration, Born Again in the USA creates its own oddly intriguing world, kind of like an old Roger Dean album cover painting. (Drag City)