Nov 9, 2016

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Album Review: Jim James – Eternally Even

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Jim James, best known as the front man of the indie/alternative band My Morning Jacket, is back with his second solo album Eternally Even, the highly anticipated follow up to his 2013 debut Regions Of Light And Sound Of God. James is the lead songwriter and guitar player in the band, but his talents are truly displayed by skills and mastermind production ability. Whether it’s My Morning Jacket or Jim James solo, any collection of songs that’s in the hands of James is turned to gold.

The album begins with heavy distorted effects, which sets the electronic/heavy studio production vibe of the album. But what’s fascinating about James is that although production is a major part of Eternally Even, there’s still plenty of organic, natural music-making happening on the album that it’s far from being overproduced in any way at all.

Track two, Same Old Lie, was the first single of the album and was released at an appropriate time, considering the U.S. presidential election. “It’s the same old lie you been readin’ ‘bout. If you don’t vote it’s on you not me,” James sings over an electrified rocking beat. This song was also featured on day four of 30 days, 30 songs, a playlist curated by artists for a Trump-Free America.

Here In Spirit, the second single from Eternally Even grabs the listener’s attention with high-pitched staccato piano chords and a rock alternative, borderline hip hop drumbeat. The chorus is another highlight of the song, making it one of the most memorable hooks on the album. James creates a stoned, relaxation vibe on track four The World’s Smiling Now. The repetitive drum machine melody is in fact monotonous but each time the funky, meditative musical phrase is played the momentum of the song builds and the energy remains strong.

On tracks five and six, parts one and two of We Ain’t Getting Any Younger, James revisits a similar distorted rocking indie soul energy that he first presented on the opening track Hide In Plain Sight. Track seven True Nature stands out on this album as the most intriguing because of its party feel and tempo. You absolutely cannot listen to this song without nodding your head along or getting out of your seat to dance.

In The Moment, track eight, is another highlight of the record because of simple song structure and smooth vibe. With a sing along hook in the chorus, fans will be stuck with this song in their head for quite some time after listening. The album ends with the title track Eternally Even, which features a spacey, airy indie alternative rock energy. Jim James delivers another exhibit of his mastermind musician skills with his second solo album Eternally Even.

Scott J. Herman