My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges

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My Morning Jacket 

Written By:

Aidan Williamson

03rd June 2008
At 18:07 GMT

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"Evil is a point of view." declared Anne Rice in her novel "Interview With the Vampire", a theme quickly reprised by Morning Jacket in the title track "It ain't evil baby / if ya ain't hurting anybody".

Such an attitude could equally be applied to quality control. Can anything be either truly good or bad? Who's to say that Jackass holds lesser artistic merit than Citizen Kane if equal amounts of people revere both? Why cannot the two parties join forces and create the classic ending where Charles Foster Kane gets smacked in the groin by Rosebud? Sidelights aside, the issue is deeply relevant to this album due to My Morning Jacket's insistence on bizarre genre shifts.

Should you ascribe to the philosophy of pop-album architecture, wherein with each album the artist must attempt as many disparate genres as possible to prove their diversity you will likely see only good things in "Evil Urges".

On the other hand, if you find leaps from dream-pop to psychedelia, through to hip-hop, to electronic rock, right on into Americana rock a tad too dizzying and unnecessary; then, umm, [insert your city here], we have a problem here. The fact that most, if not all, of the 'experimental' tracks occur in the mid-section of the album could lead to pacing issues for those not permanently affixed to My Morning Jacket's mindset.

Throughout tracks such as "Touch Me I'm Going To Scream: Pt. 1", "Evil Urges", "Alumin[i]um Park" and "I'm Amazed" the boys are on suitably good form. Jim James has expanded his vocal range considerably since last effort "Z", throwing in searing falsettos left, right, centre and then a little more to the left again as he becomes one of the rare few capable of emulating Prince without raising a chuckle.

While the vocals are most remarkable on the song "Sec' Walkin" it will forever be, in our minds, a song with too close an affinity to "Viva Las Vegas" to gain any merit of its own.

When the quintet play it straight, the results are expectedly impressive. The rest of the band chime in vocally this time around adding yet another layer of depth to an already canyon-sized production style. Their many forays into jam-sessions do slacken the pace further, but it's clear that My Morning Jacket know exactly how to complement each other perfectly. Aspire to think of it more as the scenic route to the bridge.

Finishing off the album is "Good Intentions", whilst it seems rude to spoil the ending, we can imagine it likely contains the exact response of someone listening to the song after paying a dollar for it from the iTunes shop.

Rating:  7 / 10

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