My Morning Jacket
Z


4.5
superb

Review

by The Katz brothers USER (183 Reviews)
April 2nd, 2006 | 48 replies | 16,562 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


4 of 4 thought this review was well written

The mid 1990ís music scene was the same was a place of confusion. Rap and R&B music were ruling the charts, while rock seemed to be in a slight rut. Some bands began to bring back punk music, others tried to continue on the strength of grunge and alternative which had been dying for years. Other bands began molding sounds together. Bands like Rage Against The Machine seamlessly combined hard rock with rap to send a political message, This music eventually evolving into nu metal would take over charts for years to come. But another band was forming around these turbulent times.

My Morning Jacket is a bunch of young men from a Kentucky suburb of Louisville. While Rage was using rap and rock these guys were experimenting with the idea of combining Alternative music and the country fueled rock of Neil Young. Never overcoming the title of ďNext Big Thing" the guys released many albums up until 2005 when they released Z The album was though of by many to be the bands masterwork, by now their music had evolved into a wonderful mix of Lynyrd Skynyrdís southern rock and Radioheadís slightly claustrophobic brit rock.

The albums 10 songs have many different feels to them, for instance there is the bandís loose jam rock feel (Wordless Chorus) and U2 styled alternative (Gideon) on with the latter style MMJ create wondrous atmospheres, full of juicy bass, chorused guitars airy synthesizers. Most of the albumís drums are great. They are as heavy as they are muffled and calming, this is thanks to some close to genius production thanks to legendary rock producer John Leckie (Pink Floyd, George Harrison, Radiohead, Stone Roses). Once the album is through you will realize the money it took to snag such an awesome producer is money well spent. All the levels of sound are perfectly wound together, forming an epic wall of sound on the simplest of pop tunes. With that point out of the way, I will continue the review.

The most fascinating aspect of MMJís music is the falsetto tinged voice of lead singer Jim James. He invokes Neil Young, Freddy Mercury and Wilcoís Jeff Tweedy. Most often the center of every song Jimís voice powers through Pop hooks and southern power. His voice tends to be a little over reverbed, giving it somewhat of a mystical feel while remaining one of the most fun voices in indie history. While lead singers nowadays are trying to reinvoke the darkness of Ian Curtis or Robert Smith, Jim has one of the most refreshing voices in alt. today.

The most standout part of MMJís music is their use of the organ. The albumís organ playing can have southern flavor, alternative prowess or carnival melody. Track 6, Into the Woods serves up the latter, polka themed carnival music for the indie loverís soul. Jimís warble sings about giving up on ones self over sounds as diverse as the screech of a guitar or a gigantic church choir.

My Morning Jacket conjures up images of young kids singing and dancing in a time far gone. Though they have been compared endlessly to Radiohead, when I hear Radiohead the imagery is far from a scene like this. And Radiohead would never play a song like Off the Record. As the first single I suppose the song does its job, but not much more. It has a laid back drum beat under a trebly array of barre chords. The song originally turned me off from the band, but now when I listen to it Iím astounded by how catchy it is. A decent song overall, which is not always the case for an albumís first single.

Probably the best track on the CD comes more than halfway through the album. Like many other bands before them track number 7, Anytime shows MMJ at not only their heaviest, but also one of their catchiest. In an era where guitar tone is often thrown aside as long as it sounds good with the vocals, A song that where the guitar is as, if not more beautiful as the vocals can astound and amaze, but then again My Morning jacket hardly do again that fits with this era (and their all the better for it) Once again the organs stand out beautifully.

The albumís first ballad comes in Knot Comes Loose. The song is centered on a simple acoustic guitar part and once again Jimís voice. The track, while including a little Caribbean steel drumming, piano and the slightly ambient whine of a distorted guitar is fairly good. Once again the vocals are a tad over-reverbed, which in no way is a bad thing. The album ends on an extremely track Radiohead minimalist track, Dondante. A little bass, a little drums and Thom Yorke style singing donít always make for the best album ender is what I was thinking when I first heard the song, but the time the guitars fully come in the song is transformed into a powerful love-lorn rocker. Maybe not the perfect ending, but pretty darn close.

This record, while more comparable to the Flaming Lips or Grandaddy might very well cement My Morning Jacket as one todayís coolest alt-country bands (along with Wilco and the Drive-by Truckers) and certainly deserves a 4.5.

Best Tracks:
Gideon (5/5)
Anytime (5/5
Dondante (4.5/5)
Wordless Chorus (4/5)
Off the Record (4/5)

-Joe



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user ratings (373)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Matteo Ferrazzi (4)
My Morning Jacket's greatest effort to date is phenomenal but unpretentious. Too unpretentious, actu...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Two-Headed Boy
April 2nd 2006



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You probably mean the mid 1990's. I'm pretty sure doo-wop was big in the mid 1900's :p

Nice review regardless. I might check these out, seeing as I like your recommendations.This Message Edited On 04.02.06

br3ad_man
Emeritus
April 2nd 2006



2125 Comments


This album is cool. My favourite track is "Off the Record".

mx
Moderator
April 2nd 2006



733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My favorite is 'Gideon'This Message Edited On 04.02.06

Happymeal
April 2nd 2006



330 Comments


Mine's "Dondante".

The Jungler
April 2nd 2006



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You probably mean the mid 1990's. I'm pretty sure doo-wop was big in the mid 1900's

Haha, I fixed it, thanks.
Nice work though, aside from the whole "ruining the charts" bit

Sorry about that, I think I meant to say ruling.
Thanks for the comments.

Zesty Mordant
April 2nd 2006



1196 Comments


When I get this album, I'll tell everybody what my favorite track is.
Great review, I've heard nothing but good things from this album.

slack
April 2nd 2006



249 Comments


Great album. Lay Low should be up there as another stand out track. I love the guitar solo in that song.

The Jungler
April 2nd 2006



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Uhh, you said "destroy the charts" right after it...

I didn't really mean that in a negative way. Just that it did better than almost everything else. I changed it to prevent further misunderstandings though.

AbysmalFace
April 4th 2006



35 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dondate and Wordless Chorus stand out for me the most.
The throbbing bass/keyboard beat and airy chorus at the end of Wordless Chorus gets my genitals all in a bunch.

zabbit82
April 11th 2006



62 Comments


Thanks for the good review. This is probably the next CD I'm going to buy. Off the Record is a really catchy tune.

Final Origin
April 12th 2006



362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album has a really great momentum on it and my favorite song off here has got to be 'Anytime'.

thies007
April 12th 2006



12 Comments


off the record, or lay low i would say has to be the best songs on the album, or i would take gideon

Rezonance
April 13th 2006



1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I got the album a couple of months ago when I saw a live show air on the tube and went out like the next day to get it. Loved the album and all the reverb they throw in there is great. Have to say my favorite songs on there are Knot Comes Lose, What a Wonderful Man, and Gideon. The mix of rock and country is refreshing and odd because I despise country music myself, at least modern country that is. The fact that they throw in christian influences in their music, a la What a Wonderful Man, is cool as well. Oh well, guess all there is to do now is to keep listening and wait in anticipation for the next album. I know i'll be first in line to get it.

Two-Headed Boy
April 15th 2006



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I got this for a stead $12, and it's fantastic!

thies007
April 26th 2006



12 Comments


Good review, this album is on my top 5 albums lists just because its such a good album..............!!!!!!!!!!!!!..............

STLMiguel
May 20th 2006



335 Comments


Good review, and this album certainly rocks, but It Still Moves is even better. Anyone that likes Z should check out It Still Moves.

FA
May 26th 2006



127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this album, but I think I enjoy At Dawn or The Tennessee Fire a wee bit more. Great review.

The Jungler
June 26th 2006



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It was a shit decision I made, I just changed them to Rock/Indie. I'll probably put country as a teritary genre when it becomes avaiable.

midnite_matinee
October 23rd 2006



18 Comments


I saw these guys preform on Austin City Limits and it was before i knew who they were

But i'm in to them now


DFelon204409
Emeritus
January 15th 2007



3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I heard this one song of theirs that employs something like a steel drum and the dissonances created by the reverberations were so cool. I decided to get this album since it was the newest and I just assumed these people I was hanging out with were listening to the most recent one. Unfortunately it's not on Z. It's an instrumental. Which album would it be on? I really want this song.



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