All Is Golden CD - Contraphonic

The extended Wilco musical family expands again with Pronto, the four-piece pop project led by Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen. The quartet's debut album, All Is Golden, is a 13-track collection of catchy hooks, power pop, Americana singer/songwriter stylings, 1970s-slanted songcraft, and horn-driven AM radio inclinations. Inaugural cut "Listen Lover" is a California-pop concoction with gravelly guitar and Jorgensen's soft-harsh vocals. The title track has a slightly jazzy undertone due to a smoothly grooving arrangement supplemented by funky keyboards and background horns, while Jorgensen enigmatically proclaims, "Well, once we were so beautiful, and the cracks were very small / Now things aren't as clean as we hoped they would be." Two of the record's better tracks include the snide and bitter, Todd Rundgren-ish "Precious Like a Sneer" and "What Do You Know About You?," a Jon Brion meets Ben Folds piece balanced by whimsical wordplay and musically droll humor. Lo-fi, acoustic nuggets such as regretful "Good Friends Have Gone" and the folk-pop ode to family "Had and Have" share some common elements with early Wilco, but overall Jorgensen does not stray far from likeable fare that bounces with memorable melodies and has retro tendencies with a modern sensibility. All Is Golden finishes on a high note with "I Think So," a fine guitar-pop production that ends with a sax/guitar/piano jam. (Doug Simpson)



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