The Autumn Defense offers the two an opportunity to share the spotlight, which in Wilco is occupied primarily by Jeff Tweedy. Whereas Wilco started as alt-country, morphed into a sort of American-Radiohead, before settling into a dad-rock niche, TAD delights in the soft rock of the 70s. Singer/songwriter type stuff but lushly produced and orchestrated. I have listened to a few of their albums before but with their latest, called Fifth, they finally and perfectly hit their stride.
I am a big fan of the early records of the band America, and Fifth fits in perfect harmony with those records. Fifth sounds like it stepped out of a time machine, especially the lovely "August Song" which could easily find itself on Homecoming. The harmonies are not as overt as America did in their best days (think "Ventura Highway") but TAD come close. "The Light In Your Eyes" has a particularly great chorus section.
I would not categorize the record as an homage, because that is a bit of a negative descriptor. Fifth is a great record on it's own merits. It's well written and well played and extremely well made. There is nothing searing our loud or heavy here. Fifth is the kind of record you play on cool night on a desert highway with the top down. It doesn't push boundaries but it plays within established ones to great effect. Great songs are great songs. And when they sound this good they make for a very enjoyable listening experiencing.
Here's "August Song"