It Still Moves
our score: 4.0 out of 5.0
has been two years since Jim James and company released their
masterful second album, At Dawn, and it still hasn't
left my CD player. But a lot has changed with the band in the
last two years, most prominent of which is their new recording
deal with Dave Matthews's ATO records. My Morning Jacket made
a name for themselves with their reverb drenched vocals (recorded
in a grain silo) and Neil Young tinged Americana rock music when
their first album, The Tennessee Fire, became popular
oversees. Despite the increased production values the sound on
the latest album keeps the farmy Wilcoish feeling of the last
On It Still Moves Jim James oscillates between slow ballads
and full-out jam sessions with complete ease, and his voice has
almost as much vocal range as Justin Timberlake. The opening track
"Mahgeetah" explodes out of the stereo with "sitting
here with me and mine/all wrapped up in a bottle of wine"
and never lets up, leaving you breathless waiting for the next
track. Unfortunately "Dancefloors" is not as rollicking
as its predecessor but it is a slight distraction before "Golden"
floats beautifully into the air. The acoustic guitar takes center
stage for a while, as James runs through his most lyrically impressive
song to date. He has improved his knack for writing deceptively
simple lyrics that combine his country voice with a depth that
is rarely seen in contemporary songwriting. The style recalls
Dylan as much as it does Young.
next high comes two songs later in the form of "One Big Holiday,"
which may have been the best American rock song of 2003. It is
hypnotic in its use of multiple riffs and speed changes, bringing
the impressive musical skills of the band to the forefront. Once
again James's voice takes the song to new levels, soaring above
the rest of the album. The band is often known and chastised for
elongating their songs but with "I Will Sing You Songs,"
which comes half way through the album, the length is its beauty.
It slowly builds into a dreamy landscape, with James's voice once
again taking on a new form.With
songs like this the band melds a little Radiohead into their Young.
band then rocks through "Easy Morning Rebel" and "Run
Thru," with more of those incredible guitar hooks all leading
up to James's solo performance which ends the album. When he finally
releases the line, "It wasn't till i woke up/that i could
hold down a joke a job or a dream/but then all three are one in
the same," you will once again be left breathless.
it does take a while to get to that point, and though many songs
benefit from the long buildup, the album as a whole clocks in
at over 70 minutes, and without the consistency of At Dawn,
that is about 10 minutes too long. Yet if listened to in pieces
the beauty of this album is self-evident and it most definitely
claims a spot for the band in the history of great music.
liked It Still Moves...
4. Master Plan
5. One Big Holiday
6. I Will Sing You Songs
7. Easy Morning Rebel
8. Run Thru
9. Rollin Back
10. Just One Thing
11. Steam Engine
12. One In The Same