My attendance a few weeks ago at the strange 4-day escape from reality called Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival marked my fifth year at the event. Early on every year the same doubtful thought runs through my mind: Why do I continue year after year to put myself through this? Sometime between my first use of the less than gleaming porta-potties and the realization that yes, I would indeed be this sweaty and disheveled for the next four days, that moment of panic comes.
Brilliant. Jim James, leader of My Morning Jacket, nails is on this, not his first, solo release. Imaginative syncopation behind his nuanced but powerful vocals drive each song to make an impression from first listen. “State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U)” is simply beautiful, simple but satisfying There is a distinct element (apart from the stellar writing and production) in each song that separates it from typical indie fodder, such as the gradual vocal corruption in “State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U)” , the odd swing melody that phases out “Know Til Now”, or the guitar scrapes and stabs near the end of “Dear One”. I love this album to bits already, and recommend it.
The one word I kept thinking while listening to this album was smooth. This is a very laid back album with some great kick-back tracks. Good for a romantic date or just a chill-out session. Jose James has a unique sound and inflection. “Heaven on the Ground” and “Come to My Door” both featuring Emily King are my favorites.
Brooklyn based singer Arthur Ashin goes all out on his impressive sophomore album, in which he confronts his long-standing depression. Landing somewhere between indie pop, electronica and R&B, Anxiety is a great ride. “Play By Play” is freaking unbelievable, the album’s best, a soulful slow jam that leaves you in heavy anticipation of the album to come. Autre Ne Veut is a true indie-soul star, one that deserves the world’s attention. His voice is soulful and his falsetto is strong. However, in some places, the beat is overproduced and far too busy. Listening start-to-finish might be difficult.
Final Word: This album has a great concept and Autre Ne Veut performs it beautifully. I heavily recommend it.