[25 September 2013]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Wilco’s Mikael Jorgensen and his musical partner Greg O’Keeffe—along with a slew of other musicians—have put together a full-length collection of electro-pop expanses. Each song vacillates between warm and cool textures, like how the thumping percussion of “Where to Begin” clashes with icy space and haunting vocals. Opener “ARMZ”, an extended version of a song they released on 7-inch last year, is far more playful with soaring synths and skittering beats. These songs are all surrounded by space they can echo out into, and at times, these 16-bit layers hit with surprising force, as on the epic standout “The Return of Luther Jones” or the tense, building tones of “Bizdev”. Other places find a solid set of sounds—like the shadowy scuffs of “Quincy” or the clean speed of “Ohayou”—but run out of steam long before the song ends. These are, despite all the size they present, lean tracks, though some are more propulsive and more sustaining than others. Still, Jorgensen and O’Keeffe have a certain chemistry, and that comes across in the best stuff here, even if some of the other stuff might remind you of retro video game soundtracks.