Sunday, February 5, 2017

Uncle Tupelo - Anodyne

Uncle Tupelo's fourth and final album came out in 1993.  Jay Farrar's country-soaked Slate opens the album, and the prominence of fiddle will tell you what sort of album it is.  At times the country influence is heavy and a bit much (the busy fiddle on Acuff-Rose, the 'honky-tonkiness' of We've Been Had).  Much better is Jeff Tweedy's rocking The Long Cut, a rollicking tune which lurches back and forth in a very pleasing manner.  They get the country just right on Doug Sahm's mid-paced strum Give Back The Key To My Heart, Sahm providing vocals and songwriting.  The countrified REM influence comes through on Tweedy's New Madrid, and soaring steel guitars lift the title track from mediocrity.  Farrar's contributions generally have more of a country feel than Tweedy's, with cry-in-your-beer High Water a prime example.  Whereas when Tweedy does the steel guitar laced No Sense In Lovin', he ups the tempo, taking it out of traditional country territory.

The problem with an album like this is it's more an album to admire, considering its influence, than to truly love.