Mojave 3 Spoon and Rafter

Mojave 3 Spoon and Rafter
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was Wilco’s abandonment of the conventions of genre and style. It was a record defined only by its own bearings, leaving people to take it as they may. It’s interesting then that Jeff Tweedy’s rusted and hollow masterpiece seems to have reinvigorated the genre it strove to leave behind. Much like Willie Nelson’s defiance of the Nashville sound in the early ’70s developed the Outlaw movement, YHF is giving rise to a similar movement in modern alt-country. Artists such as Jay Farrar and Ryan Adams are among a growing group moving towards songs filled with irresolution and raw beauty. Mojave 3’s Spoon and Rafter is another of the defining albums in this current swing. Each track shows the band choosing experimental and indented soundscapes to deliver a new take on their usual decidedly pleasant sound. From the drifting thoughts of "Bluebird of Happiness” to the band’s reworking of the "Between the Bars” (which previously appeared on Halstead’s 2002 solo album Sleeping on Roads) the space these songs were recorded in is just as present as each instrument on the tracks. This emptiness surrounds each song with hum of complacency. The choice to avoid a well-polished sound serves the album well. While it’s tough to find a fault of any kind with any of Halstead and company’s past work, Spoon and Rafter brings new depth to a legacy of nice. (4AD)