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Over the course of several years and several indie releases, this Kentucky-bred combo earned themselves a reputation as unwashed and somewhat dazed purveyors of reverb-drenched Neil Young worship. And while they once filled that niche rather nicely, Jim James and company blast out of those confines with spectacular results on Z, an obscurely titled but vividly detailed disc that maintains touch with the band's roots while taking aim at the farthest reaches of the stratosphere. The manifest for that trip is laid out with breathtaking eeriness on "Wordless Chorus," an aptly named swirl of sonic mercury that allows James's angelic voice to float freely through a spangly landscape that would do the Flaming Lips proud. A similar spaciness lurks in the corners of "Dondante," but on that extended tune, it's leavened by a mean streak of guitar sinew, one that echoes MMJ's past Crazy Horse infatuation without retracing those steps precisely. The quintet aren't entirely detached from terra firma, however. In fact, they've rarely expressed themselves more earthily than on "What a Wonderful Man," an out-and-out pop song of sorts that's keyed by a spry keyboard melody that encircles lyrics about the death of a close friend. That seemingly incongruous blend of emotions pops up again and again on Z, as in the reggae-tinged plaint "Off the Record" and the unhinged "Knot Comes Loose." But it's not just the aural splendor that makes Z so captivating -- it's the sheer presence of a group of musicians growing exponentially in both confidence and capability. A monumental release.
Performance CreditsMy Morning Jacket Primary Artist
Andrew Bird Strings,Human Whistle
Jim James Group Member
Two-Tone Tommy Group Member
Carl Broemel Group Member
Bo Koster Group Member
Patrick Hallahan Group Member
Technical CreditsJohn Leckie Producer,Audio Production
Jim James Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Two-Tone Tommy Composer
Danny Cash Graphic Design
Guy Burwell Artwork
Patrick Hallahan Composer
Kathleen Lolley Artwork
Nicolai Denchev Artwork
Mike Fulkerson Artwork
Brandon Jones Artwork
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I can't even tell you how many times I've listened to Z by now. I discovered MMJ on a tv broadcast of one of their Austin city Limits performances and I was captivated immediately. The vocals are a bit Neil Young-ish but they've also got an awesome transcedental strength about them and the drumming well, it speaks for itself. This is a must-have.
If you like soul music and southern rock mixed with loads of reverb and a touch of the Beach Boys of old (and U2 from 1983 to 1988) then I think you will enjoy this CD. Give this CD a chance and you won't be disappointed.