Thursday, April 18, 2013

Album Review: Jim James -Regions of Light and Sound of God

Jim James
Regions of Light and Sound of God
*** out of *****

It's odd that James Edwards Olliges Jr. known as Jim James (or Yim Yames) feels the need to do a solo album now as he has been consistently putting out what seems like very personal sounding albums with his main outfit My Morning Jacket and indulging himself with various side projects (Monsters of Folk, George Harrison and Woody Guthrie Tributes etc). 

That thought pushed aside for the moment Regions of Light and Sound of God seems to touch on all that James has done and hint at where he wants to go.  Digital beats, strings, pseudo soul, guitars, instrumental ditties are all presented behind James's distinct croon that is unlike any out there today.  

The stripped down and almost childlike "State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U)" begins James on his (semi) spiritual journey (the album was inspired by Lynd War's "Gods' Man") presented through the disk which closes with a similar track where James identifies with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr over sparse saxophone and snare brushes called "God's Love To Deliver". 

In-between we get a mixed bag of tunes. "Know Til Know" is an odd crossing over of dance beats and confessional hovering organ while James goes falsetto; it is almost as James is shooting for an indie rock version of Justin Timberlake with this one. "A New Life" pushes his Harrison love directly to the forefront, while "Actress" is a string laden soul tinged effort that grows with each spin mixing Late 70's Motown and John Lennon.

One of the the more interesting efforts is "Of The Mother Again" which plays with the best instrumental arraignment on the disk as he samples Dr Dog's "Fat Dog" for optimum results.  However, where Jim's voice is his main tool throughout, here he plays with an weird double tracking vocal effect that takes away from the overall product.     

So why a solo disk now?  Well Regions of Light and Sound of God certainly gives a good overview of James's styles (minus the jamband tendencies) with a spiritual undertow that links things (loosely) together. The fact that James is constantly searching is a major plus, sometimes he finds what he is looking for and sometimes he won't; it doesn't matter much as the musical (and spiritual) journey is what's important.
I have gone back and fourth on Jim James, while loving some My Morning Jacket stuff (Z and It Still Moves) and really disliking others (Evil Urges, Circuital). His contributions to the underrated Monsters Of Folk disk are fantastic as was his stunning cover of Dylan that we talked about already and were lucky enough to catch in person.  

James possesses lots of range with his music and sings with one of the best voices going today so he has a lot going for him, but at times it almost feels like he casts too wide of a net with his efforts.

Support the artist here, buy the album here and peeps some of our favorite samples below:

"Of The Mother Again"

No comments:

Post a Comment