The My Morn­ing Jacket man make a con­vinc­ing case for a solo ca­reer.


Q (UK) - - Contents - JOHN AIZLEWOOD


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.”

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