The Belle Jar- Union Station
Mar 5, 2014
Wilco bassist John Stirratt has been thumping for the alt-country megaband since 1994. Pat Sansone joined a decade later after the two had collaborated to form The Autumn Defense, a sweet highway companion to Wilco’s warm majesty.
Album opener “Back of My Mind” could be a Wilco remnant from 2004’s A Ghost is Born, with its chiming piano melody and George Harrison-esque choppy guitar. Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche even appears on the gentle sing-a-long “Tell Me What You Want.” It wouldn’t be a stretch to compare Sansone’s voice to Wilco’s smoky frontman Jeff Tweedy’s, but The Autumn Defense is a band all its own.
While Wilco’s quieter moments tend to favor the dark over the tender, The Autumn Defense are as sweet as their name. Circling their folky arrangements with rising strings and bright triangle clicks, Sansone and Stirratt hearken back to The Beatles in their sweetest moments. The ominous title track “Once Around” envelops with a pulsating drum beat laced under a Zeppelin-esque acoustic breakdown. Rustic strums coupled with limber arpeggios on “The Swallows of London Town” bring to mind the fun of standard country-folk acts.
All these qualities paint a portrait of a band that’s taken the best of what’s around them and tweaked it to their own liking. So, whether The Autumn Defense will leave a lasting imprint on the musical world is irrelevant—just take them at face value and enjoy the warmth of a brilliant pair of multi-instrumentalists.
Check out "Back of My Mind":