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Southern rock merchants capture the energy of their live shows on accomplished fifth album.
Lauren Murphy, 17 Jun 2008
Following up an album as critically-acclaimed as 2005’s Z was never going to be easy, but if Evil Urges never quite matches their most focused work to date, it’s still a largely satisfactory effort. Since their move to a major label in 2003, My Morning Jacket have forged a reputation as a stirring live act – so it’s no surprise that lead singer Jim James has gone on record as saying that the Kentucky natives’ fifth studio album would endeavour to capture the urgency of their live shows.
For the most part they succeed, sometimes to thrilling effect. The first half of the album is an eclectic cluster of tracks that absorb elements of Neil Young/The Band-style southern rock (Evil Urges, I‘m Amazed), spacey, Flaming Lips-style electro-psych (‘Touch Me I’m Going To Scream’), warm surf-pop undertones (‘Two Halves’) and even taut, Prince/Cameo-contoured funk (‘Highly Suspicious’).
It’s the latter half that sees any urge, evil or otherwise begin to flag, with ‘Look At You’ and ‘Aluminum Park’ ushering in a twenty minute-long sequence of ‘rollickin’ rock’ overkill.
It’s perhaps a step back from Z, but Evil Urges’s likeability factor means that My Morning Jacket are resilient enough to see off competition from potential usurpers Band Of Horses and their ilk. They’ve yet to make a truly amazing album, but they’re certainly getting closer.
Key Track: ‘Touch Me I’m Going To Scream’