Despite the rigors of recording and touring with Wilco, Jeff Tweedy found time last fall to complete work on “Born Again in the U.S.A.,” his second album with artist/producer Jim O’Rourke and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche as Loose Fur. The set arrives this week via Drag City.
Asked to compare the new album’s sound to the eclectic folk/rock mix heard on Loose Fur’s 2003 self-titled debut, Tweedy offers, “It’s maybe a little bit heavier. There’s definitely a lot of harmonized guitar parts. I think it’s a similar mix of folk-ish elements, but the rock elements are a little less stridently abrasive, and maybe a little bit more prog-rock or something.”
The album is the first concentrated batch of original O’Rourke material since his acclaimed 2002 solo album, “Insignificance.” Says Tweedy, “He has been really busy with other people’s music. I love getting to work with Jim and he has some really, really great songs on this.”
The jolly, countrified “The Ruling Class” imagines a reborn, sharp-dressed Jesus turning frowns upside down, while O’Rourke’s “Answers to Your Questions” deconstructs a relationship in his usual devastating detail. Other highlights: the undulating guitar jam “Apostolic” and “Wreckroom,” an eight-minute masterpiece equally flecked by gorgeous piano and bursts of distorted guitar.