The My Morning Jacket man make a convincing case for a solo career.
MY MORNING JACKET LEADER’S POLITICALLY-CHARGED RESURGENCE.
JIM JAMES ETERNALLY EVEN ATO/CAPITAL, OUT NOW
If 2015’ s clumsily experimental The Waterfall suggested his band My Morning Jacket had run out of oomph, Jim James’s extra-curricular activities are on a roll. His too-brief solo debut, 2013’ s Regions Of Light And Sound Of God, was an exercise in haziness, but its successor is significantly more collaborative in the studio and unquestionably more ambitious. It’s a bundle of intriguing contradictions, where the lush, warm World’s Smiling Now sits alongside tracks such as the expansive instrumental We Ain’t Getting Any Younger Pt 1, which resembles an Americana take on Krautrock. He’s not taking a grand departure here, for Eternally Even retains James’s parent band’s mystery and washes of sound, but it’s underpinned both by his conspiratorial, intimate vocals and a new-found, tacit anger on an album brought forwards to coincide with the US election. He hectors people to vote on Same Old Lie (“if you don’t vote, it’s on you, not me”); suggests they stop whingeing and speak out on Here In Spirit, which samples EDJ’s cult delight Minor Miracles and he mumbles against the machine elsewhere. The closing title track is a kiss-off, which declares “my feelings towards you have softened over time” before going on to detail precisely why they haven’t. Much as James shades that simmering anger in genteel obfuscation (“everything is still nothing if it don’t add up to something” he slurs on the earworm True Nature), he’s getting more sensual and more unsettling as he approaches his 40th birthday.
Listen To: Here In Spirit | Same Old Lie | Eternally Even | True Nature
Jim James: “getting more sensual and more unsettling.”