Sound — 9
Wilco has been honing their sound for years now. With a line-up that seemed to be constantly changing, the 7-piece seems to have found it's best instrumentation yet. Jeff Tweedy's songwriting has always been at Wilco's core, but addition of superb guitarist Nels Cline and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone have really helped to define Wilco's current sound. The band is at its best on Kicking Television, as the tracklist (taken from four live shows) showcases their brilliant style of indie rock. With songs from each album, including the two Mermaid Avenue volumes and excludingt A.M., their debut, Wilco has put together a live album with a variant and pleasing tracklist. They also add a b-side, "Kicking Television," and "Comment," a cover. The quality of the sound is great, and Wilco is on top of their game.
Lyrics — 8
With the exception of "Airline To Heaven," "One By One," and "Comment," all the songs are Wilco originals and therefore written by frontman Jeff Tweedy. His lyrics aren't typical, and sometimes may leave the listener confused. Sometimes his vocals may have that "love 'em or hate 'em" sound to them, but he sings his lyrics like he means them, and sometimes that's what matters most.
Overall Impression — 9
Songs like "Hummingbird" and "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" showcase Nels Cline's soloing prowess, and his talent is unmatched by any previous Wilco guitarist. Crowdpleases like "Jesus, Etc" and "Heavy Metal Drummer" off of 2002's critically acclaimed Yankee Hotel Foxtrot are standouts, as well as tracks such as "Handshake Drugs," "The Late Greats," and "Company in my Back" off of 2004's A Ghost is Born. Finally, throw in "Misunderstood" off of Being There as a fantastic opener, and a healthy dose of tracks from Summerteeth, including "Shot In The Arm" and "Via Chicago," and Wilco deliver a fantastic live record.