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Music Review: Wilco bandmates produce tight pop sound hearkening back to 1970s

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The Autumn Defence, "Fifth" (Yep Roc Records)

When not rocking out with Wilco, multi-instrumentalists John Stirratt and Patrick Sansone dish out smooth '70s-sounding pop as the Autumn Defence. Their latest and fifth release, the appropriately titled "Fifth," comes four years after their last effort.

The wait was worth it.

The Autumn Defence is all about melodic hooks and harmonies. Fans looking for some of the rougher musical edges that Wilco dives into will be disappointed. The approach is clearly on display with the opening track, "None of This Will Matter," a song so easy on the ears it feels like a warm auditory hug.

Stirratt and Sansone find a groove and stick with it through all 12 tracks. That consistency can be either monotonous or entrancing, and sometimes both at the same time.

The songs' lyrics touch on feelings of melancholy, longing, sadness, love and depression. It's a broad spectrum, all tied together under the rich musical tapestry created by Stirratt and Sansone.

Watch out, Wilco. The Autumn Defence is on the offensive, albeit in a very mellow way.

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