The Autumn Defense - Circles

The Autumn Defense

(Arena Rock)

First Appeared at The Music Box, February 2004, Volume 11, #2

Written by John Metzger


When bass player John Stirratt isnít busy helping Wilco sculpt a new image for rock ínĎ roll, heís performing with multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone in The Autumn Defense. While the latter groupís sophomore effort Circles isnít really in the same league as those from Stirrattís primary project, the album still finds ways to stand on its own accord. With its rich harmonies and gentle melodies, itís an understated and often quite gorgeous affair that easily recalls the type of AM-radio, singer-songwriter fare that was popular during the late í60s and early í70s. As acoustic guitars and reflective keyboards converge in a delicate dance of eternal dejection, itís impossible not to think of Harry Nilsson, America, Cat Stevens, Bread, Jim Croce, John Lennon, and The Beach Boys ó all rolled into a single somber entity. There are moments when the ensemble seems nearly ready to delve into the atmospheric elements that have made Wilcoís music anything but typical ó the manner in which the Silenceís percussion crashes like waves on the shore, the swirling pop of Some Kind of Fool, or the lush orchestration of The World (Will Soon Turn Our Way), for example. In the end, however, The Autumn Defense comes up somewhat short, but even if, when all is said and done, little from Circles stays with the listener for any length of time, that doesnít make it is any less heartfelt or enjoyable. starstarstar Ĺ

Circles is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2004 The Music Box