My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket

It Still Moves

ATO

It is a sturdy limb I’m out on when I say that My Morning Jacket may be the Radiohead of southern rock. By now you’ve undoubtedly at least heard of this album; I’m just here to add a reserved “yee haw” among the catcalls and sycophantic tomfoolery of some of the press. Don’t get me wrong, I like My Morning Jacket. Of the two upstart southern bands garnering attention this year, Kings of Leon have the inbred keep-it-in-the-family values down pat, while MMJ actually have the goods.

The drowsy opener, “Mahgeetah,” cycles through lumberyard riffs and psychedelic passages while supporting bandleader Jim Jones’s almost Thom Yorke, almost Neil Young vocal delivery. Aside from a couple of forays into grimy soul, the album stays grounded in one of two camps: the country-rockers or the drugged out ballads. That they pull off both equally well should send John Fogerty and Syd Barrett out to check MMJ’s DNA.

If there’s one complaint I have about the album, it’s that at seventy-plus minutes it’s easily an EP too long. Too often MMJ give into the most tempting of southern rock clichés: testing the listener’s patience through extended soloing. No one song suffers individually for this, but four tracks or so skimmed off and saved for later would have made the album easier to digest in one sitting.

It Still Moves is an impressive major label debut that manages to stay true to the band’s indie roots as well as hold steadfastly to the old Dixie mores of sitting around and drinking. Please God, don’t call it a comeback, but these boys have made swamp rock fleetingly cool. I’d like to leave Bizarro world now…

ATO Records: http://www.atorecords.com/ • My Morning Jacket: http://www.mymorningjacket.com/

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