Jim James

Regions of Light and Sound of God

Written by: BV on 01/08/2013 14:21:49

Jim James, perhaps better known from My Morning Jacket, is quite the peculiar guy to deal with. According to some, he is revered for his simplistic take on roots music whilst his head has always been in higher places than that. The result of such a blend, namely the debut solo album “Regions of Light and Sound of God”, is a semi-free-floating, yet utterly simplistic piece of homegrown psychedelic rock that features influences from the abstract methods of Syd Barrett, over more recent takes on the genre like The Flaming Lips and other ‘electronically’ inspired psychedelic acts. The music of this album seemingly draws on pop-like figures to work around, subtly infusing otherworldly elements like reverb-drenched vocals, swirling organs or just odd sounds to the relatively straightforward mix, to create a seemingly innovative approach to a seasoned genre.

These subtle incorporations are abundant on a track like “Know Til Now”, which opens with the spatial dynamics of a haunting organ - only to instantly evolve into an upbeat pop-track with vocals sounding like they were recorded in high-ceiling silo of sorts, with tons of cave reverberations added on top. – An eclectic blend, if there ever was any. This pop-accessibility is both refreshing and frustrating at the same time though, as the accessibility occasionally comes across as too compromising – i.e. the album never really becomes fully experimental and never really strays too far from the written formula. Thus leading the interesting sounds to become shunned as nothing more than what some might call ‘smoke & mirrors’.

On the other hand, “Of the Mother Again” comes off as wildly authentic and, to quite a big extent, earnest in the way that its slightly pop-esque rhythm pattern never really becomes dominating, but rather functions as a subtle vehicle for the somewhat goofy sound experimentations and the soft vocals to really get going. In other words, this track seems to do what “Know Til Now” never really accomplishes, despite setting out to do just that – which is perhaps why “Know Til Now” was chosen as a single in the first place, as accessibility tends to overrule interesting sounds on singles.

Closing with “God’s Love To Deliver”, the album reaches near otherworldly heights through a haunting meditative session that slightly reminds me of a nursery rhyme, coupled with religious chanting. Indeed, a nursery rhyme showing the way to transcendence might be just the way to describe this powerfully hallucinogenic track, as the soft and spatial vocals float through a cosmos-inspired rhythm section that, at times, sounds as free-floating as I imagine the thoughts behind this creative process to be.

As the dreamscape of the final song comes to a close, I’m growing somewhat fond of portions of this album – though it doesn’t feel like a complete experience all the way through, it does seem to highlight some potential that might indeed become a great follow-up to this album. This time around I’d say it’s interesting - however there are far too many anonymous or not fully developed tracks.


Download: God’s Love To Deliver, Of The Mother Again
For The Fans Of: My Morning Jacket, The Flaming Lips, Bosnian Rainbows
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 05.02.2013
ATO Records

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