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Summer Teeth

music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Summer Teeth

Artist: Wilco
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: March 1999

Review by LarryG
4 stars out of 4

Wilco continue to grow as a band to the point that Summerteeth recalls classic Beatles and Beach Boys in ambition and tunefulness. Live, Wilco sometimes seem confused whether they should be country rock traditionalists, just a bunch of buddies hanging out having a good time or a great rock band. In the studio, they're able to be serious and fun. Part of the difference is that Wilco's musical genius, Jay Bennett can artfully layer the sound on record while live he is spread too thin in replicating his guitar and keyboard lines. Singer Jeff Tweedy's writing continues to grow. Tweedy's character is often maturing beyond his youthful ways and being forced to deal with the disappointment of failed adult relationships. The very stupid Kingpin from Wilco's very good 1996 cd Being There would simply not fit here. In general, the tone is downbeat but Wilco is smart enough not to let things drag too much. Slow songs are mixed with rockers. The simple, sad We're Just Friends is followed by the goofy boast I'm Always In Love and the infectious Nothing's ever gonna stand in my way. The lyrics are depressive but they, along with the music, also speak of a refusal to wallow. The title track introduces a sad story but gives it a light springy musical setting and a happy ending. The musical settings are consistently interesting. I Can't Stand It has an undeniable groove. The sadly nostalgic Pieholden Suite is the most reminiscent of the Beach Boys with its harmones and suddenly shifting tone. Bennett often softens the mood with 60's analog keyboards. Rising dissonance in A Shot in the Arm illustrates Tweedy's internal turmoil as he tries to overcome his sad relationship. Summerteeth is interesting and listenable. The band shows love for their rock forefathers and still sounds like a great 90's band.

Here's what others reviewers have to say:

"...built from pieces found rusting by the roadside of the Americana Dream, seemingly at random....Tweedy's best songs are sweet as ever...." Spin 4/99, p.160 7 (out of 10)

"...TEETH is packed with poignant mid-tempo ballads that would've seemed right at home on a top 10 list in 1975. These days, though, pronouncing them merely transcendent will have to suffice." - Rating: A Entertainment Weekly 3/12/99, p.70

Reader Feedback

This is the most original thing to come out this year. It has a style. At points it sounds like well produced Electric Bob Dylan. With 'Via Chicago' 'Can't Stand it' 'How to Fight Loneliness' and 'shot in the arm' these guys are great, and really I am looking forward to the next album.    --PolyVynal



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