New Tunes: My Morning Jacket’s Evil Urges

Like a good consumer, I waited patiently for the release date of My Morning Jacket’s latest (June 10) , and was pleasantly surprised that eMusic had it available on Day One [For the uninitiated, eMusic is a monthly subscription site that specializes in independent labels. I pay $10 a month for 40 downloads. So in essence, I just paid $5.60 for the new MMJ – nice].

A couple years ago, I opined that Nino Moschella’s “Are You For Real” was one of the best Prince songs I’d heard in ages. Well, Evil Urges has a couple of the funkiest Prince songs you’ve heard in a while, too. Listen to the title track, and especially to track 3, “Highly Suspicious”. Jim James is channeling the good ol’ nasty Prince falsetto here. It sounds like Prince fronting Cameo in their prime. Seriously, tell me you don’t hear that. Go to their MySpace now and click on “Highly Suspicious”. Stat.

Quirky, rich and offbeat, the new record is full of Jim and the band blurring the lines between genres: from their brand of southern jam-rock to some serious infusion of funky, soulful grooves. I don’t know how they do it, but My Morning Jacket manages to sound like a great 70’s band from the future. They’re futuristically retro, if I may. I mean, listen to “Thank You Too!”, and the seamless double shot of “Smokin from Shootin” and “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream, Part 2”.

I have great respect for musicians that find a formula that “works” for them, and then continue to morph and tweak it on subsequent albums. Wilco has done it (compare Being There to Summerteeth to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)… Prince sure did it in the 80’s (especially from Purple Rain to Around the World in a Day – a huge leap). And MMJ is doing it – check out the transitions in atmosphere from It Still Moves to Z to Evil Urges.

Truly a groundbreaking band – and hands down one of the most impressive live acts I’ve ever seen. I look forward to letting this record seep into me.

Buy: Evil Urges
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