Tweedy & co prove handy recruits to the R.E.M. spin-off

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The Minus 5 – Down With Wilco

Scott McCaughey collects illustrious bandmates the way most collect old records. Not content with having Peter Buck and R.E.M. auxiliary member Ken Stringfellow as recruits to the Minus 5 cause, McCaughey expanded the membership at the end of 2001 to include serial collaborators Wilco.

The usual Wilco-related label problems contributed to a delayed release, so that Down With Wilco virtually coincides with the Jeff Tweedy/Jim O’Rourke Loose Fur project. More predictably still, McCaughey is a mellower foil than O’Rourke, so the closest Wilco parallel to this sunshine pop is probably the Summerteeth album, though Tweedy does slip in a few of his newer, tetchy guitar lines beneath the jangle and gurgle, and sings “The Family Gardener”, an obvious highlight.