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Wilco’s "Gold"-en Boy: Pronto, September 18 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-09-16 20:01:03

ProntoListening to the debut album from Pronto, the quartet fronted by Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen, the inescapable reference point is the singer/songwriter genre from the 1970s -- warm, organic, a little hazy, and mostly ready for AM radio. One can't avoid, for instance, Randy Newman's influence on "What Do You Know About You?"

Jorgensen, in a recent phone interview promoting his band's September 18 show at RIBCO, sounded tired of the comparison -- "We didn't set out ... [to] make a record that everybody's going to say sounds like the '70s," he said -- but he didn't deny its accuracy.

All Is Golden is not all soft-focus AM-radio fare. "Monster" has the muscle of power pop, while "I Think So" belies Jorgensen's love of experimental music as it devolves into a coda of sax and electronics and noise. But even when the songs themselves don't fit the decade, there's still a pervasive vibe.

The surprise is that Jorgensen is a relatively recent convert, for a long time not being a fan of the era's musical giants -- Neil Young and the Rolling Stones, for example -- or even the premise that lyrics are a meaningful vehicle for musical expression. He and his collaborators on previous experimental, instrumental music projects dismissed lyrics as merely "a vehicle for the melody."

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