Jeff Tweedy and his band of misfits returned after a two year break from their last album to record what many are calling a modern day masterpiece. The legend of "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" is a modern mythical music tale between good and evil. The band gave Reprise records the album in 2001 but Reprise, which is a subsidiary label of Warner Bros., would not accept the record citing lack commercial material. The age-old battle between money and artistic integrity revealed its ugly head. Not since Princes battles with his record company causing him to change his name to a symbol in protest had such a standoff took place.
The band then decided to leave the label and post the songs for download on their official website.
Through word of mouth the album became a cult hit and circulated the Internet. In 2002, the band signed with small label Nonesuch records, which is ironic since it is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. who also own Reprise.
"Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" is a great pop album from a band previously categorized as alt-country. There are the familiar influences here of country and folk but Tweedys great ability to craft a pop song grows more evident on this album than previous Wilco and Uncle Tupelo records. The sound is reminiscent of Radioheads "Kid A" or "O.K. Computer" than anything country. Thats not too say the alt country sound has completely disappeared since arguably the strongest song on the album "Jesus, etc" illustrates a countrified sound.
A great album that might not grab you at first listen but slowly pulls you in with each subsequent rotation. "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" gave a glimpse of where the band was headed embracing a more rock
sound that would be exemplified on their next album "A Ghost is Born". YHF symbolizes that good guys can win even when facing such an intimidating adversary. ***1/2 out 4 stars.