Wilco's "The Whole Love" is wholly enjoyable

In this CD cover image released by dBpm Records, the latest release by Wilco, "The Whole Love," is shown. (AP Photo/ dBpm Records)

AP

(CBS/AP) Better than "Wilco (The Album"), the band's new record starts off with a blast. A sonic blast.

With a burst of distortion, Wilco delivers a sign of what is to come over the 12 songs on "The Whole Love" that span the spectrum from plaintive ballad to all-out rockers.

Diverse and yet cohesive, "The Whole Love" has more in common with 2002's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" than the band's previous two releases, especially 2009's inconsistent "Wilco (The Album)."

You can almost feel the band stretching out in the studio, breaking out the Mellotron, multiple guitars, strings and keyboards, meshing them perfectly with songwriter and lead vocalist Jeff Tweedy's lyrics.

"Sunloathe" employs Beach Boys-esque harmonies, "Capitol City" sounds like a jaunty 1930s-era vaudeville shuffle, while "Standing O" may be a little half-baked, but it still washes easily over the listener. The record closes with "One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley's Boyfriend)," an epic 12-minute heartfelt meditation that's Tweedy at his best.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "Born Alone" joins the canon of absolutely chilling Wilco songs obfuscated by a rollicking backing that gets under your skin and stays there. This is not typical pop song fare, as Tweedy declares "sadness is my luxury." And it closes with this stunner: "Loneliness postponed/Mine eyes deceiving glory/I was born to die alone."

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