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Loose Fur

Born Again in the USA (Drag City)

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Born Again in the USA, the second album from the Loose Fur collaboration of Jim O'Rourke and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotche, clocks in at 38 minutes, with 10 tracks barreling straight through hooks on the bellies of sharp-clawed riffs, the tenacious guitar tones of Phish's "Billy Breathes" snagging the complex melodic maneuvers of Steely Dan. It's meant as a brief rock trip, and it works on those grounds.

As the title suggests, Born Again is a thematic attempt to have fun with America's resurgent Christian zealots. Tweedy sings of a crack-smokin' savior and delineates God's effete, good-only-for-guilt space in the brain, while Jim O'Rourke laments that going to church "desecrates my only day to sleep in late" after poking fun at how Jesus -- always in his pop's shadow -- has a huge inferiority complex.

Sure, it's glib and smug. But when your president calls himself a born-again Christian and wages war, a little condescending humor, grounded by the occasional defeated torch song ("Answers to Your Questions") and the omnipotent riff ("Wreck Room"), is welcome if not necessary.

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