Reviews::My Morning Jacket Okonokos

Without question, herohill has had some rough football weekends in the last two weeks. First, Michigan and the Saints get blown up, now it's my turn as ND crapped the bed and the Steelers looked like they were helping Lock find the hatch: lost.

It's tough to be inspired by music today, so I've decided to write about an album that I thought was too challenging to really review honestly. The album is the double disc live album by My Morning Jacket - Okonokos.

There are so many reasons why I shouldn't be trying to review this, including:
  • I hate live albums
  • I'm a mediocre MMJ fan at best, only lately finding any appreciation of their music - to quote Klosterman, I felt their early music was more, "My Boring Racket."
Live albums are a tough sell for me. Sitting at home trying to replicate the experience is not something I'm a fan of, nor is sitting at home trying to listen to a two-hour show. The mistakes, the changes, the excitement; these are things I need to be in attendance for. I can't throw on a Robert Randolph bootleg and jam out, and I find the same is true with this record from MMJ.

The fact I'm only slowly becoming a MMJ fan doesn't help either. I didn't buy into their banjo-infused, acoustic material of years past, but as they have developed into a more electric band, I find myself appreciating the older stuff more and loving the newer material. As much as I am starting to like their music, I'm not fantatical about their live sound.

Those things being said, this CD shows how powerful the live act they deliver really is. The band transcends genres so effortlessly and with such musical precision, you can't not get swept up in the mix. They get the Led out. They hit you with a reggae vibe when you least expect it. They break into a free jam flow without making you sit for 15-minutes while they indulge themsevles. They bring some southern charm.

Focusing on the material from last year's critically acclaimed record Z, the record grabbed me right away and as they dive into their older work they maintain a balance between hidden old treats - like I Think I'm Going to Hell - and new material - like Lay Low and Dondante.

Perhaps the most important thing to point out about this show is that despite the fact the band plays for two hours, makes mistakes and of course has highs and lows, the energy they play with never falters and the show never fail to live up to expectations that are set so high by fans (the American Radiohead is all to often tossed around in conversation). So much so in fact, that I'm heading to Seattle to check them out live in January.

@ 11:05 PM, Jeff kicked the following game:

My opinion of them is colored somewhat because MMJ are from my hometown. I can see what you are saying. I fell in love with them when I got At Dawn, their 2nd album. It Still Moves was something I enjoyed but I have a harder time with Z. I saw them here last Wednesday and they rock as hard as any band I know (that still has some semblance of melody). Jim James' voice is the band's 6th instrument and the increased backing vocal tracks are the 7th I guess. I hope you like them in Seattle. I have a feeling you start off your review with "Holy Shit!"


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