Loose Fur

Born Again in the U.S.A.
(Drag City)

As you might glean from the title of the second collaboration between Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotche, and composer/engineer/all-around post-rock icon Jim O'Rourke, religion figures heavily in Loose Fur's (or is that Lucifer's?) curious, frequently skewed, mostly engaging songwriting this outing; while Pat Robertson likely will disagree, the trio's abundant pokes at Christianity come off as more irreverent than mean-spirited. "You better turn your frown upside down/Christ is on his way across town/He was getting tired of hangin' around/Yeah he's back, Jack, shootin' smack, find him if you wanna get found," Tweedy sings over the loping, Grateful Dead-ish country-rock of "The Ruling Class." And in "Stupid As the Sun," staccato guitar progressions propel O'Rourke's vision of Jesus on the cross bemoaning his bad back and even worse career move: "When I took this job on it said I'd get a lot of sun, sea, and sand/And a burial plan/C'mon lemme down, I'm resigning now/I got an offer from the other guy that's starting to look good right now." Such bits are good for a wry laugh or two, but it's the disc's more "secular" moments that are particularly satisfying -- the fantastic "Wreckroom," for example, morphs during its eight minutes from America-style '70s soft-rock to an Allman Brothers jam interrupted by Sonic Youth guitar skronk to a trippy float in amniotic fluid buoyed by ambient guitar textures and Kotche's psychedelic percussion. That alone is enough to make a believer outta almost anyone.
 
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