Album Review: Jim James - "Eternally Even"

Album Review: Jim James -

By Ian Bremner

"A happy ray of light," "eternal optimist," and "spread love" are all terms and phrases easily associated with Jim James. He is the wizard-like front man for My Morning Jacket. who are known for blending folky psychedelia with a heaviness only possessed by some metal bands. It’s smooth, loud, and pretty and can knock you off your feet. Jim James’ solo work has always had a different twist.

2013’s Regions Of Light And Sounds Of God, James’ first solo record, saw him dipping into electronics with an overall weirder approach he may not have been able to get away with in the band. It was a beautiful, atmospheric record with near-universal acclaim.

Jim James is back with LP2, titled Eternally Even. Though some of its material has been worked on over the last couple of years, it seems this particularly brutal election season has even affected the eternally positive folks like James. It is most certainly no coincidence that Eternally Even is being released mere days before the extremely polarizing presidential vote.

No one album can sway the vote, and that is not the point: Eternally Even is not a protest album but it does beg you to dig deep into yourself, mortality, and some sad realities, issues listeners are not used to hearing from James.

The mood is noticeably darker and dronier than Regions Of Light. James’s voice is lower and quicker. His signature buttery bellow is hard to find amongst the rhythmic bass and sonic backdrop. However, it’s not all doom and gloom; "True Nature" hits a soulful peak towards the end of the record, with vintage horns and jazzy R&B keyboards. "The World Is Smiling Now" is one of the prettiest and most "Jim James"-like songs in recent memory.

It seems that Eternally Even could either be call to arms or a challenge to humanity. Perhaps it’s both.

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