Eternally Even

Jim James

ATO/Capitol, 2016

http://www.jimjames.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/21/2016

On this second solo album from the leader of My Morning Jacket, Jim James has decided to try something different, but on the whole it doesn’t work as well as his first record, 2013’s amazing Regions Of Light And Sound Of Godmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 . The latter was one of the best efforts of that year and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that James’ gifts extend beyond his work with MMJ.

This time around, however on songs like “Hide In Plain Sight,” things just aren’t up to par. The song is decent enough but it features a drone-y type dance beat behind it that just doesn’t work, at least not for an artist like James—and that’s a real shame, because he really is capable of so much more. “Same Old Lie” is similar but much stronger because James’ rich vocals really come across here and help to make up for the song’s weaknesses.

There are plenty of inessentials here including “The World’s Smiling Now” which comes across as dreadfully dull and doesn’t do jack squat. The instrumental “We Aren’t Getting Any Younger Pt. 1” kills any momentum this record had, although the song’s second part is much better, in fact one of the better songs here.

The record’s real standout is “Here In Spirit” which has plenty of great vocals and some really strong instrumentation, a real piece of work from Mr. James. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for “In This Moment,” bland, crappy 21st century electro-folk that no one really wants to hear. James is capable of so much more and this just doesn’t cut.

In the end, this is one of the most disappointing discs of the year, and it’s a real shame since James is one of the most stunning lyricists and vocalists of the 21st century. Ultimately, this record feels like a massive step back.

Rating: C

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