Wilco’s surprise release of their ninth album – available as a free download from their website – comes four years after 2011’s universally acclaimed The Whole Love.

Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, who, with son Spencer, released an album in September of 2014 as Tweedy called Sukierae, said the reason behind the free album was simple. “What’s more fun than a surprise?” he asked.

Wilco features the prolific musician Jeff Tweedy, guitarist Nels Cline, bassist John Stirratt, multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche. “Why release an album this way and why make it free?”, the statement reads.

Perhaps all will be revealed on repeated listens, but for now Star Wars sounds like a band having an absolute blast with both the pop music form and the ways in which we hear it.

Star Wars has no apparent connection to the classic science-fiction movie series of the same name.

Just last week, guitarist Nels Cline hinted that a new album was on the way from Wilco.

Star Wars arrives as the alt-country band is marking its 20th anniversary – a pair of retrospective releases, Alpha Mike Foxtrot and What’s Your 20? It is also available on Tidal, although not (yet) on Spotify.