Jim James-Regions of Light and Sound of God

Kentucky-born “psychedelic” rock band, My Morning Jacket had me mesmerized when I discovered the original demos from their debut album Tennessee Fire (1999) many years ago. The stripped down, acoustic songs captivated me with not only the rawness of the chords but the sincere lyricism about love, change and the process of maturing.

 Jim James., Image courtesy of Google

Fronted by the emotive and eloquent, Jim James, the band has achieved much success in the indie music scene as well as securing mainstream notoriety with songs such as “Wordless Chorus,”(Z, 2006), “Just Because I Do”(At Dawn, 2001) and the heart-breakingly beautiful track, “Golden.” (It Still Moves, 2003).

 Jim James., Image courtesy of Google

Regions of Light and Sound of God (2013), is the first solo album for Jim James, delivered in his signature vocal style (impressive, and sweet falsettos, followed by moments of vibrato so rich in texture that it pulsates your bones). The album addresses many topics ranging from holy devotion, and belief, to being aware of (and challenging) deceiving messages about life.

The songs flow together cohesively in a manner atypical of My Morning Jacket; the music is soaked in hipster obscurity (vocals that blend almost too seamlessly, that are accompanied by stirring melodies that significantly slow the heart rate) and casts a introspective mood from the first tune to the last. Also true to his style, James effectively uses lyrics to make social commentary

Regions of Light and Sound of God, Jim James., Image courtesy of Google

In the opening track, “State of Art (A.E.I.O.U)” he expresses frustration and weariness for the technological age, and reliance on various gadgets in order to communicate:

“I used the state of art technology/supposed to make for better living/are we better human beings/we’ve got our wires crossed/our tubes are all tied/and I’m straining to remember/what it’s like to be alive.”

There are some downsides to this 40 minute album: if you do not focus on the differences of every song, there is little way to distinguish one ballad from the next, and the record generally requires a few listens to grasp the concept. But aside from the blurriness, Jim James has succeeded in expressing his emotional and musical growth-and has presented a bewitching compilation that only cements him as a talented figure in the pop-indie scene.

 

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