The Autumn Defense: Fifth
Two words: Painfully good. That’s the feeling that Fifth creates. Is this the suffering listeners felt hearing Big Star for the first time? Fifth is a too-perfect blend of pure power-pop, alt-country and jangly indie rock, yielding a masterpiece of compelling harmonies, delicately phrased guitar leads and massive hooks that could land a 400-pound halibut. Is that a bad thing? Well, the grit and noise of the band’s earlier efforts that gave listeners something to hang on to have been smoothed over and polished, but such maturation seemed an inevitable development in the songwriting of band founders and Wilco members John Stirratt and Patrick Sansone. Naturally, this leads to the obvious and well-founded comparisons, yet the duo’s inclusion of their touring
contingent for live studio sessions adds images of Traveling Wilburys, Alex Chilton, ELO and Tommy Bolin in a perfect storm of glorious, but not pretentious, pop overload.