Artist: Jim James
Album: Eternally Even
Release Date: 11/04/2016
No one can accuse Jim James of standing still. Apart from fronting My Morning Jacket, his band of renown, James’s been consistently productive and prolific all on his own. Adapting the alternate persona of Yim Yames, he offered an EP that paid tribute to George Harrison and played a prominent part in a salute to Woody Guthrie (with Jay Farrar) as part of the New Multitudes project and later participated in a recording of unreleased Bob Dylan songs entitled Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes.
James released his first solo effort, Regions of Light and Sound of God in 2014, and now, two years later, he offers up his most adventurous effort yet, Eternally Even. While it finds some sonic similarity to his work with My Morning Jacket, especially given its psychedelic sensibilities, it’s a work of greater intrigue, thanks to its eerie trance-like settings and the prevalence of ominous undertow. The foreboding opening track “Hide in Plain Sight” sets the mood, and aside from the jazzy trappings of “The World’s Smiling Now” and “True Nature,” none of these droning melodies offer much of an inducement. “We ain’t getting any younger,” James intones on the song of the same name, suggesting that there’s no time to waste as far as his breaking a few boundaries.
For the most part, Eternally Even isn’t exactly an album that begs repeats hearings, although it could serve as a soundtrack for those in a certain altered state of mind. Interesting, though not essential, it proves that an eternity often overstays its welcome.