Album of the Week: Jim James, 'Uniform Distortion'


Jim James, 'Uniform Distortion'
Jim James, 'Uniform Distortion' (ATO Records)
David Safar - Album of the Week: Jim James, 'Uniform Distortion'
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Jim James' solo career came at the perfect time for fans of My Morning Jacket. The band had reached new heights in their touring career and were on the cusp of their major label debut when James released his first solo studio album. Since the midway point of MMJ's career, Jim James has matched the output of his main gig with solo and side projects, giving him the cult status that he had already assumed with one of the most angelic voices in modern rock.

His latest effort, 'Uniform Distortion,' is entirely consistent with his brand of musical truths expressed through his signature guitar and vocals. Jim James never lets you forget that he is a student of the great American and English classic rock music from the 1970s, and like previous releases, there is an overly healthy amount of that sound on the new album. From the lead single, "Just A Fool," to the unironically titled, "Throwback," James produces consistently great rock music that is reminiscent of a past traditional of rock 'n' roll than the present era of bedroom productions.

'Uniform Distortion' conjures the psych and garage rock influences that you can imagine are in James' record collection, and like his previous solo releases, sounds like an exploration of songs that don't fit the mold of My Morning Jacket. Yet, if you delve deep into his solo catalogue, you'll stop comparing his solo albums to MMJ, because there is something distinctly different from the big indie sound of his band.

The recording and mixing on the new album sounds entirely organic and without any ambition for translating the songs to a live arena. Instead, each song serves as a sketch of something that Jim James is workshopping as if he was in his own garage exercising each melody and chord progression. The result is a great album that sounds like it will stand up to the test of time, but only through repeated listens. If you wanted a pop album or something to sing along to, this isn't the album you've been waiting for from Jim James.

Jim James' 'Uniform Distortion' is out now on ATO Records.


Jim James - Official Site

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