9 September 2013

9th September - My Morning Jacket's It Still Moves

Artist – Album: My Morning Jacket – It Still Moves
Released:  9th September 2003
Sounds Like:  Neil Young in the 21st Century

It shouldn’t take long after pressing play on My Morning Jacket’s third album It Still Moves to make your mind up on whether this one is for you. Do you like hook-laden Americana and meandering Southern Rock, exceptional guitar playing, swooping falsetto vocals and, possibly most importantly of all, Neil Young? Then you’ll love this! If countrified indie-rock and languid, drawn out epics actually aren’t your cup of tea, however, then it’s probably best that you look away now (why not turn to yesterday’s When I Was Born for the 7th Time? That one was good).

So it’s just me and the believers now right? Excellent.

It Still Moves is probably the highlight of My Morning Jacket’s career; a big label debut that managed to retain the cavernous, spaced out feel of their earlier independent recordings, combined expertly with glorious classic rock-like melodies and a near-pop mentality, borne from frontman Jim James’ thorough studies of heroes like the Beach Boys, the Band and the Young One. The likes of ‘Mahgeetah’ and ‘Golden’ sound close to tributes to those past masters and are great fun, in a style they would run amok with in follow up album Z. ‘Run Thru’ has a Crazy Horse-esque looseness and prodigious fretwork that led Rolling Stone magazine to list it amongst the top 100 guitar songs of all time. At the centre of everything is ‘I Will Sing You Songs’, a sprawling marathon of a track that comes across as both mighty and fragile, like the polar ice caps. It’s gorgeous and majestic no doubt, but I’m unconvinced that it’s strong enough to be the centrepiece of the record.

As with the similarly grand Sigur Ros, My Morning Jacket’s large but uncluttered arrangements make their music sound titanic and vital. Whether there’s quite enough substance buried within to back up that initial groundswell of emotion (or to merit a 70 minute long album) is hard to say, but it definitely feels great.

Albumaday... rating: 7/10

1.       Mahgeetah – 5:56
2.       Dancefloors – 5:38
3.       Golden – 4:39
4.       Master Plan – 5:05
5.       One Big Holiday – 5:21
6.       I Will Sing You Songs – 9:18
7.       Easy Morning Rebel – 5:09
8.       Run Thru – 5:45
9.       Rollin’ Back – 7:50
10.   Just One Thing – 3:13
11.   Steam Engine – 7:26
12.   One in the Same – 6:23

Listen to ‘I Will Sing You Songs’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHuBPe5_xxY
Also released on 9th September:
2008: Okkervil River – The Stand Ins

Also released on 9th September:
2003: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – Twinkle Echo

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