Solo record from My Morning Jacket lead singer, but don't let that “folkie” thing stop you. Breathy, soulful, scratchy, lo-fi crackle. Ray Lamontagne or Glen Hansard with a psychedelic flair. Exotic and Compelling. Read More
The Motown and soul influences My Morning Jacket showed on their recent releases continues on frontman Jim James’ first solo effort, Regions of Light and Sound of God
. First song, “State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.),” is like a psychedelic blue-eyed soul version of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” in which James riffs on the vowels over a stately blues piano riff. “We got our wires all crossed/Tubes are all tied/And I’m strainin’ to remember just what it means to be alive” is one particular example of his old-time-soul-meets-Radiohead-technodread. It’s a bold new sound for James, and one that sounds natural. “Know Til Now” plays closer to the MMJ line, with a looped, digitized horn loop blaring in the background while James' ethereal chants dance with a mellowed-out funk track. MMJ’s southern riffs and bombast are missed, but James sounds liberated to develop some of the ideas he unveiled on albums like Z
and Evil Urges
, as well as new ones, creating lush backdrops for his heartfelt vocals on “Of the Mother Again,” taking a detour into Middle Eastern tonality in “All is Forgiven” and even offering an MLK-refing paean to equality in “God’s Love to Deliver.” Whether or not James’ solo career ends up being his main priority, Regions of Light and Sound of God
sounds like the start of something grand and new for Jim James.