My Morning Jacket

Beard band: My Morning Jacket
John Milazzo

Over the years, categorizers have shoved My Morning Jacket in numerous pigeonholes: jam, Southern rock, Americana, and more. Group leader Jim James doesn't much like being labeled, though, as Evil Urges, the act's latest disc, makes clear. The CD begins with the title track, "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. 1," and "Highly Suspicious," both of which are warbled in a funk 'n' soul falsetto. The last track ratchets up the weirdness even further with chants so stilted that the performers probably had to bite their cheeks to keep from cracking up. The proceedings largely normalize in between, with gorgeous airs such as the string-laden "Thank You Too!" delivering everything an MMJ aficionado could want and more. Nevertheless, James' point sticks. The members of My Morning Jacket aren't going to sit still while others define them. Instead, they'll be the ones to decide what kind of band they are.

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