The Minus 5 – Down With Wilco

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

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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.

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