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The return of gentle folk rock

The Autumn Defense

The Autumn Defense - Circles
(Arena Rock Recording Co.)
3 1/2 (out of 5 stars)

Reviewed: Feb. 16, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

Spawned from the rib of alternative-heroes Wilco, The Autumn Defense have recently released their second full-length album entitled Circles. Led by Wilco's bassist John Stirratt, the soft, sublime sounds that flow from this ten track collection are nowhere related to that of his full-time band. Instead, what Stirratt, along with bandmembers Pat Sansone (vocals / guitars), Brad Jones (bass) and Greg Wiz (drums), offers up is much closer in feel to the easy going West Coast singer / songwriter pop from the late '60s and early '70s.
Recorded in Nashville and Chicago throughout 2002, the production is straightforward and honest - showcasing the talents of each bandmember.
From the catchy, well-crafted compositions such as "The Sun In California," "Why I'm Like This" and "The World (Will Soon Turn Our Way)," to the bittersweet balladry of "Iowa City Adieu" and the haunting beauty that floats throughout "Silence," the lighter side of artists such as Harry Nilsson, Cat Stevens, Neil Young and Bread can all be felt but not necessarily heard.
In the midst of a return to hard garage rock, The Autumn Defense prove that there's still hope for well-written songs filled with sun-dappled melodies, beautiful acoustic guitars and lush harmonies - no matter how light they may be. David Gates would be proud.

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