The I Don’t Cares are a collaboration between Paul Westerberg and Juliana Hatfield, who supplies lead guitar and harmony vocals. While Hatfield’s presence is certainly tangible, Wild Stab still feels like a Westerberg solo album – he sings most of the leads, and several tunes are recycled from his earlier solo records. While it shares the off-the-cuff nature of a lot of Westerberg’s solo material, Hatfield’s guitar and harmonies add a more accessible sheen which helps, and it’s arguably the best sounding album of his solo career.
The songs are strong as well – ‘Born For Me’, which was written about Hatfield and which is recycled from Suicaine Gratification and ‘Outta My System’ from 49:00 are both highlights, while ‘Sorry For Tomorrow Night’ is sweet and pretty. The most striking song, however, is the closing ‘Hands Together’ – at almost seven minutes it’s easily the longest song Westerberg has produced, and its rambling tone is also unique.
Wild Stab is Westerberg’s best album for some time, and it would be great to hear some more work in the same vein.