Jim James - Regions Of Light And Sound Of God

Here we see James get in touch with his spiritual side.

Rating:

For the uninitiated, Jim James is the voice of Louisville, Kentucky based rock outfit My Morning Jacket and member of all American supergroup Monsters Of Folk. This debut solo record was recorded at his home studio using a mixture of analog and digital recording techniques with the distinctively facial haired one playing most of the instruments that comprise this work. When you discover that My Morning Jacket’s epic Bonnaroo set featured covers of tracks by such luminaries as James Brown, Funkadelic and Bobby Womack then the direction of this record comes as less of a surprise than it might first appear.

‘Regions…’ eases you in gently with the soft piano riffs of ‘State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U)’ before the luscious ‘Know Till Now’ grabs your full attention placing dreamy reverbed vocals over a funky minimalist beat with some horns and freeform jazz thrown in for good measure. The psychedelia notch is turned up significantly on the Beatles-tinged ‘Dear One’ where tales of pushing boundaries of the soul and the ‘ticking synchronicity of time’ sit alongside a hefty dose of feedback without ever feeling out of place. The script flips once more with the exquisite ‘A New Life’, by far the most stripped-back thing here with just vocals at the start before a shuffling beat teases its way in. It sounds like a long lost piece of vintage pop from the 50’s, the sort that people like Del Shannon used to record in their heyday, pregnant with poise and emotion.

Splitting both halves of the record is ‘Exploding’, a short instrumental piece of gently finger-picked acoustic guitar which segues neatly into the otherworldly ‘Of The Mother Again’. Here we see James get in touch with his spiritual side, a theme which he revisits on ‘All Is Forgiven’ where the birth of Jesus is depicted, whilst references to rebirth and Martin Luther King pepper the spectral ‘God’s Love To Deliver’. It’s also worth noting the string-heavy ‘Actress’, its edgy filmic quality lending itself to soundtracking hazy summer afternoons spent in the park.

When you put out an album containing just nine tracks there’s no place to hide, and everything here has its rightful place.
Try A Little Tenderness: Dream Wife

Try A Little Tenderness: Dream Wife

Dream Wife spent their debut cementing themselves as a punk-spirited force to be reckoned with. On ‘So When You Gonna…’, the trio are taking a step back and finding inspiration in their softer side.

Non-Stop: Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard

Non-Stop: Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard

Approved by legends like Iggy Pop and Michael Sheen, this Cardiff quartet are going with their gut, and revelling in a bit of good, old fashioned glam-rock fun.

Death or Glory: Fontaines DC

Death or Glory: Fontaines DC

In-fighting. Self-doubt. An entire scrapped album recording. This is the story of ‘A Hero’s Death’, and how it helped piece Fontaines DC back together again.