A for Improvement
It is almost as if My Morning Jacket took the plethora of advice given by the media for their previous album, It Still Moves. Their sophomore endeavor, Z, is much further along the path down which they seem to be moving than anyone probably would have expected. Laced with intricate, Air and Can-like instrumentals, the music has taken a darker, more electronic twist as in â€šÃ„ÃºInto the Woodsâ€šÃ„Ã¹ which has a cyclical carnival sound. It is still grounded in their rock and roll base yet MMJ has taken liberties with that genre, bringing in more textured components. As opposed to the classic rock simplicity of It Still Moves, Z is definitely more complex and stylized with the heavy electronic bass and drum lines of the opening track â€šÃ„ÃºWordless Chorus.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Though they still retain their reverb-concert-hall signature style, they incorporate a larger diversity of instruments and methods utilizing a piano, organ and even what sounds like a musical saw. The band seems more at ease with their writing, comfort emanating in tracks like the Dave Matthews Band-style jam of â€šÃ„ÃºOff the Record.â€šÃ„Ã¹
The best part about the album is the fact that singer James Jam is almost solely working within the parameters of his vocal limitations. Previously, this was one of the main issues holding MMJ back from truly coming into their own as he pushed his abilities to a fault. He stays mostly within his range, which makes the rest of the music much more palatable.
All in all, Z is a welcome effort full of improvement and great ambient tunes to zone out to. Thus they should expect their fan base to largely increase.