[ATO Records; 10/06/2008]
My Morning Jacket is a band that attracts respect from all quarters. Not necessarily because they make amazing albums, but more so because of their diversity and their ability to immerse from static creativity, which a lot of their contemporaries fail to do. They've had their fair share of success in the past with album's such as At Dawn and Z topping many listeners' favourite polls, but the one thing MMJ have always lacked is quality control. They rectified this situation with the latter album, however there were still some weak tracks that lay within the release.
Z was a shift in gear, with a longevity of experimental guitar jams and stomping riffs two of the many great features MMJ decided to embark upon within their music. Smashing their boundaries, the band continues on underlining their intentions to move forward, with their latest album, Evil Urges.
Jim James mixes up his vocal range throughout this album, with more of a pop glee at the helm. 'Highly Suspicious' is the aptly titled track where James' falsetto does its best to unsettle the listener and is the high point of the band's change in musical climate.
'Librarian' is a cleverly worked lyrical parade which seems a lot easier on the ear than a lot of the band's previous works, while 'Looking at Working' flows in much the same vein. 'Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. 2' is the epic closer that flows on the back of guitar reverb and James' beefy shrills, which never grow dull.
Many will disagree with me on this point, but Evil Urges is arguably the most enjoyable MMJ album that can be listened to from front to back. It's the band's ability to inter-surf within the genres of rock and alt-country making no one track sound alike, which is a complete contrast to the majority of work they've previously released. Much like the steps that Wilco took with A Ghost Is Born and even to a lesser degree with Ryan Adams on Rock N' Roll, MMJ don't care about pleasing; they care about moving forward within their own sound, creating something that makes the listeners brain tick just that tad faster. Evil Urges is definitely that something.
By Simon K