My Morning Jacket experiments with reggae, R&B on new album Z

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My Morning Jacket’s new record, Z, is the kind of pure and uninhibited rock ‘n’ roll that has been largely absent from music since the ’90s. They have an earthy sound and the instruments come off as natural and raw. My Morning Jacket isn’t afraid to run a little wild in the recordings, as most of the songs have jams that sound free flowing and unscripted, providing more to their organic mystique. Lead singer Jim James also has an incredible voice-a mix between Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and Neil Young. Although an indie band at heart, their sound has taken a life of its own-unpredictable in the greatest sense. The interplay among the instruments is well-timed and a pleasure to listen to. James stresses that the put equal emphasis on the vocals and instruments, balances the whole record.The song “It Beats 4 U” is another similarity to the style of the Flaming Lips. The bass line sounds strikingly like bass line from the Flaming Lips’ “One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21.” “It Beats 4 U” evokes feelings of detachment and mystery with its creepy guitar riffs as well as the haunting and echoing vocals.”What A Wonderful Man” is the most upbeat and infectious song on the record, yet James’ lyrics contradict this otherwise cheery track. James questions the paradox of why what is wrong can feel so right. “Why do we love what is wrong?/ Big devil told us to sing along/ And like a loving flock we obey.” The inflection in James’ voice is immensely important to the success of this song. The laziness he exudes adds to the careless personality of the song-ignore the rules and indulge in the guilty pleasures.”Off The Record” begins with a bouncy guitar riff and somewhat boring vocals but slowly morphs into a jam-a delicate teetering interplay between the keyboard, guitar and drums. Each individual instrument introduces itself at perfect intervals, offering maximum auditory satisfaction.”Lay Low” is a straightforward classic that sounds like it was made 20 years ago-always a good thing. James’ excellent vocals are featured in the beginning of the song, and as the song’s story evolves, the vocals are left behind, as two dueling guitars converse for the sake of making the other guitar sound better, like an endless cycle of musical fireworks.The record is polished off with “Dondante,” a song that begs the listener to wait in anticipation for the climax. It continues to lull on in a predictable fashion until the instrumental toward the end. The brilliant ending to the song diminishes the negatives that came before it. Once again, My Morning Jacket pumps out a psychedelic and meaningful conclusion jam that puts the song, and the entire record for that matter, into perspective.The standout aspect of this record is the sound. In the same way that a genuine and honest person is easier to befriend, honest and raw sound is introspective, making it enjoyable for the listener. My Morning Jacket goes light on effects and production, laying bare the essentials that piece the song together in a snug, meaty fit. This record will complement any occasion, but it has the perfect ingredients to be a mellow, lazy Sunday-morning soundtrack.