One Track Mind: The Autumn Defense, “Moods” (2014)

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Recruited by Lindsay Jamieson of the online show Find the Beauty, John Stirratt and Pat Sansone — members of Wilco who also work as the Autumn Defense — have recorded a new track. The catch being: This is not their own composition being taped for the rolling cameras. The premise of Find the Beauty is for an invited band to reclaim the creative spark of a previously released and recognized song, through their own unique interpretation.

So, Autumn Defense was invited to place their pastoral pop fingerprint on “Moods” by the British group Northern Uproar, originally released in 1996. The original angst-inflected anthem features layered acoustic guitars, punky vocals and noisy guitars, all of it working in reflection of Oasis’ huge influence at the time.

Sansone and Stirratt take the already lyrically moving song, drop in a groovy syncopated drum beat, replace the previously harsh vocal approach with sparkling honey harmonies and mellow the arrangement to further examine the intricacies of the songs internal melody. Quirky breakdowns and musical details abound. The chorus arrangement elicits vast aural panoramas, recognizable as previously decorating the Autumn Defense’s own catalog.

Ever the master arranger, Sansone has left his fingerprints on the production glass. He also takes on lead vocals, sweetly supported by the intimate voice shadow of Stirratt. A special surprise to be found in the mix is the appearance of some blue slide guitar added by musical friend and guest Brendan Benson.

Stephen Lewis

A creative writing major at SUNY Brockport and freelance writer from Upstate New York, Stephen Lewis maintains a music-focused site called Talk From the Rock Room: He has also written for UpstateLive Music Guide and Ultimate Classic Rock. Contact Something Else! at
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