November 19, 2008

WE ARE ALL DESIGNISTS NOW:

-Audio Archive > Live Music Archive > My Morning Jacket (Internet Archives)
My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges (Will Brinson, May 21, 2008, Glide)

It's rare enough to find a well constructed album, but when a group of rapidly rising rockers rip off something this tightly diverse, well, the general public is sure to get put on notice come June 10th, the album's public release date.

Urges spreads itself out across various genres, which is a serious (and well-timed) diversion from the typical spacey southern rock My Morning Jacket usually cranks out. Structurally, it reminds a lot of Beck's Midnite Vultures, it combines sets of juxtaposed styles that somehow fit neatly in place throughout.

In short, it could serve as a national coming-out party for My Morning Jacket, an already popular but still tragically hip group of musicians.


My Morning Jacket makes a daring move (Dan DeLuca, 6/08/08, Philadelphia Inquirer)
The slithering falsetto that James employs on the title cut is freaky enough, even before he and guitarist Carl Broemel take off on their interlocking-guitar Nantucket sleigh ride. But the real spit-take comes two songs later, with "Highly Suspicious," a 1980s throwback that recalls Prince's "Kiss." It employs robotic synth-funk and stentorian backup vocals, and James takes great joy in enunciating the words, "Peanut butter pudding surprise!"

"Highly Suspicious" is a blissfully silly lark that unabashedly expresses the let's-try-anything spirit of Evil Urges. The band - the rest of the lineup is drummer Patrick Hallahan, keyboard player Bo Koster and bassist "Two Tone" Tommy Blankenship - embarks on its adventure while leaving a musical bread-crumb trail behind. So it can connect back to home truths like the swaggering "Aluminum Park," a melodic riff-rocker which will undoubtedly incite inspired hair-wagging on stage.

Evil Urges is well-grounded in old-fashioned songwriting. James' vibratoless vocal style bears traces of Coyne and Neil Young, but has its own angelic, almost ghostly sound. It's immediately distinct, even if it has become one of the most imitated instruments in indie rock. (That guy in Band of Horses should be sending James royalty checks.)

My Morning Jacket's recognizable sonic imprint gives its members the freedom to get outside of themselves while remaining true to who they are. Among the most rewarding excursions are soul passages such as "Thank You Too," a cushioned, string-sweetened R&B expression of gratitude that, along with the Philly soul-sprinkled title track, bridges the gap between (white) neo-classic rock and (black) old-school rhythm and soul.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 19, 2008 7:39 AM
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