My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges – music review

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My Morning Jacket
Artist: My Morning Jacket
Title: Evil Urges
Label: ATO
Rating: 8/10

Corporate line:
There’s an old saying that every human cell in the body is changed over a period of seven years, thus every seven years we become a new person. If this is the case My Morning Jacket has defied this idiom by collectively shedding its skin innumerable times since its inception a decade ago in Louisville, Kentucky.

The past several My Morning Jacket albums have each reflected the passion that the band shares for music of all categories while continuing to nurture their signature aesthetic. Stylistically, “Evil Urges” is the album that My Morning Jacket has been making for almost ten years. Their previous work has emboldened them with the confidence to continue to grow in ways few artists would be capable of achieving. Admirably, Jim James’ songwriting manages to remain as organic and cohesive as ever, making their musical leaps forward fluid, logical, entertaining, and inspiring.

More than ever before, the band treated the studio itself as a musical instrument for the recording of “Evil Urges.” Thus co-producers Jim James and Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, White Stripes) truly collaborated on the band’s most ambitious and convincingly executed album to date.

Although their last album, Okonokos, has been hailed as one of the best live albums of the new millennium, My Morning Jacket is a band that holds no desire to merely replicate their past work. As kinetic and transcendent as their legendary shows are, the band is not attempting to achieve concert realism with the recording of the new album. Within opening track, “Evil Urges,” alone, this focused eclecticism is immediately evident. It is clear that My Morning Jacket have officially outgrown their ‘best live band’ label. Now, Jim James (guitar, vox), Two Tone Tommy (bass), Patrick Hallahan (drums), Carl Broemel (guitar) and Bo Koster (keys) are ready to be the best band, period.

The good stuff:

“Librarian” – The must buy song on the album.
“Evil Urges” – Southern rock with what sounds like Prince at the helm, well not exactly, but I’m trying to paint a picture.
“Touch Me I’m Going to Scream, Part 1” – It takes a few listens but it’s worth ever minute.
“I’m Amazed” – A brilliantly beautiful track that keeps you swaying in southern bliss–same goes for “Sec Walkin.”
“Smokin From Shootin'” and “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream, Part 2” – Start to get into Pink Floyd territory.

The rest:

“Highly Suspicious” – This sounds like Prince if someone was squeezing his boys.

Finally:
My Morning Jacket has released a brilliant release. It’s not easy to sum it up but its damn good. If you haven’t dove into these guys yet–you should.

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