Published Nov 04, 2016My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James is back with his second solo release, Eternally Even. Purposefully timed to coincide with the giant shit-show otherwise known as the 2016 presidential election, James' latest offering carries a message of peace, love and human resilience via some slinky, mid-tempo soul tracks.
MMJ fans will find none of the grain silo reverb howl they have come to expect from James; instead, we get a much more low key sound, a logical extension of the sedate vibe of James' solo debut, 2013's Regions of Light and Sound of God.
Eternally Even's nine tracks blur together in a world-weary haze. At first blush, the record sounds a little bland, especially in comparison to MMJ's 2015 triumph The Waterfall, which toyed with similarly big ideas but accompanied them with more sonic bombast. Yet, as with almost anything James touches, the hooks are there, and in time the earworms emerge. First single "Same Old Lie" plainly lays out James' political message against a laid-back beat, while "The World's Smiling Now" and "In the Moment" sound like long-lost Bill Withers songs.
On album highlight "Here in Spirit," James croons "If you don't speak out / we can't hear it." Clearly, he's prepared to do his part, as $1 from every ticket purchased for his U.S. tour will benefit MMJ's Waterfall Project, dedicated to supporting and promoting actions for positive change. This warm, hopeful record feels particularly soulful and almost therapeutic given recent world events. We'd all do well to take a deep breath and let Jim James reassure us that everything is going to be okay. (Capitol)