Regions Of Light And Sound Of God.
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 03:02
The twin strengths of My Morning Jacket have been the band’s easygoing southern gothic tone and its sweeping, epic sound. Jim James, MMJ’s beatific and bearded front man, bids adieu to these cornerstones to explore his own songbook on his first true solo album, Regions Of Light And Sound Of God.
Why James didn’t put out Regions under the Yim Yames moniker that labeled his tributes to George Harrison and Woody Guthrie may be linked to the personal nature of the album. Regions was recorded after James was recovering from a nasty fall off a stage in 2008. Pulling himself out of a dark place has lent the album an inexplicable sheen of jolly, winking energy, leaving Regions free of the tortured navel-gazing that usually marks a solo album.
Monster hooks define the record’s stickiest songs, “Know Til Now” and “State Of The Art - A.E.I.O.U.,” where James’ vocals and drum breaks pump the brain full of auditory MSG. Even when James is lamenting his fatal attraction in “Actress”—“Whether or not it’s true/I believe in the concept of you”—it sounds like a vamping troubadour projecting beyond the proscenium, not a broken-hearted cowboy.
Don’t mistake Regions’ very bearable lightness of being for fluffiness. “A New Life” and “God’s Love To Deliver” are truly touching, and James’ golden voice could sell sheared orangutan hair to Robin Williams.
Though these solo songs won’t fill arenas quite like MMJ’s many barnburners, Regions Of Light And Sound Of God is a world that’s a pleasure to live in.