Have you ever wondered if there was more to Kentucky than Fried Chicken? If you have, you would have probably discovered that there is also a lake, a zoo and a Science Centre. Well, now I bring you its best export. And no it doesn’t involve mutated meat covered in breadcrumbs. It instead appears in the form of five young men, dipped in nothing but rock and roll sauciness (see what I did there). They consist of Jim James on vocals and guitar, ‘Two Tone’ Tommy on bass, Carl Broemel on guitar, Bo Koster tinkling those keyboard keys and Patrick Hallahan on drums. This however was not their original set-up, with Hallahan assuming the role of drummer number three in My Morning Jacket’s (MMJ) ten-year career. But, as someone mildly famous once said – “change is a good thing,” and in this case it most certainly is, with ‘Evil Urges’ being as diverse as a KFC Variety Bucket. MMJ’s sound isn’t as sickening though, in fact, it’s pretty darn good. It’s psychedelic indie at its foremost, with guitars being reverberated at any given moment, calmed only by the serenity of James’ vocals.
Track numero uno is the album’s namesake; to middle-agers it may be considered mere “noise,” but to the rest of,us it’s like a pack of purple Soothers, trickling into our bodies and calming the senses, with the infamous reverb adding to the smoky feel of the riffs. The track, despite its name, takes you into a state of unconsciousness with lead singer Jim James leading your thoughts away from drudgery with his silky sounds. Underneath the high octaves lies a smidgen of MGMT, surreal is definitely the name of the game for MMJ.
‘Highly Suspicious’ is a track that demands attention. It features Prince-style singing and a bass-line that will get your blood pumping, not to mention dalek-esque backing vocals. If that isn’t enough to capture your attention, just wait for the Joker laughs that quite eerily fill the middle-eight. I wouldn’t be surprised if it quickly appears on your ‘most-played’ list.
In direct contrast ‘Look At You’ and ‘Librarian’ are sweet little love songs that make you go weak at the knees and think “awwww.” The latter features the lyrics, ‘simple little beauty- heaven in your breath. The simplest of pleasures- the world at it's best.’ Who said romance was dead eh? James’ vocals are nothing short of beautiful on these tracks. The simplicity of the melodies transports you into a dream-like state full of romance and love. WARNING: They make you want to hug everyone you meet.
‘Two Halves’ is another stand-out featuring an upbeat rock rhythm with a catchy tune that will get you laa-ing along in no time. Although the lyrics echo something a little less cheery, the song occupies a good-time feel. Repetition is the only thing that lets this, and other tracks down. Although the melody is a hooky one, there’s only so many times you can sing the same tune.
It seems that the five lads are running out of steam a tad; compared to their previous albums ‘Evil Urges’ is a disappointment. Tracks like ‘Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt. 1,’ ‘Aluminium Park,’ ‘I’m Amazed,’ and ‘Sec Walkin’ are more B-sides than the A graders they should be after all the musical experience the Kentucky quintet have picked up along their decade. Saying that though, the album features more good tracks than bad, it would be fair to say My Morning Jacket are ‘finger lickin’ good!’