With Summerteeth Wilco plugged into a whole new jukebox, leaving behind the roots rock and Americana of old for a shiny new pop sound that has little to do with 'alt-country' of any description.
The retro elements here: Beatles-esque songwriting, Brian Wilson-esque harmonies, Phil Spector-esque production; combine with formative indications of the soundscaping they would really dive into on their next two records; using treated drums, synth effects and feedback to produce a record that sounds simultaneously classic and futuristic, ancient and modern.
Jeff Tweedy really comes into his own as a lyricist here, offsetting these summery, shimmering melodies with his darkest, most confessional lyrics to date to create a dissonance that is truly unsettling. His willingness to speak the unspeakable, ("She begs me not to hit her", "I dreamt about killing you again last night") combines with a writerly eye for detail ("The ashtray says you were up all night") and a deeply humane rendering of regret to add up to what I think is his best collection of writing to date.
Summerteeth stands alone in the Wilco catalogue in that no other album sounds quite it, although anyone checking it out after enjoying anything from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to Wilco (the album) will find it less of a jump than anyone coming from the Uncle Tupelo to Being There direction.