After Uncle Tupelo split up, Jeff Tweedy formed Wilco, recruiting his former bandmates’, with the notable exception of leader Jay Farrar. Given the remarkable albums that followed it, A.M. is an inauspicious beginning; it’s nominally country rock, and the textural flavour comes from pedal steel and fiddle. It’s lighter in tone than Uncle Tupelo, sometimes veering into power pop, or sounding like The Replacements.
It’s unremarkable, but it’s enjoyable, punchy and fast paced. ‘Box Full Of Letters’ and ‘Casino Queen’ are energetic and punchy, ‘Blue Eyed Soul’ is fragile and evocative like Neil Young, while ‘Passenger Side’ also employs the lonesome scratch in Tweedy’s voice to good effect.
A.M. is an unremarkable debut album, especially when compared to Jeff Tweedy’s obvious competition; Jay Farrar got Son Volt’s career off to an excellent start with Trace. But before Wilco’s next album, the band gained a new recruit who would help to move the band forward spectacularly.