Jim James + Johnny Marr | Tracks
My Morning Jacket’s frontman flies solo. A belated debut from the Smiths’ guitarist.
Published: November 22, 2012
“Know Til Now”
“Know Til Now” isn’t the first solo endeavor from Jim James, but it might be the first where the My Morning Jacket frontman sounds completely liberated. Perhaps that’s why he ditched the alias Yim Yames. He’s also shed any trace of his main gig’s pastoral anthems, instead placing himself inside a woozy landscape that feels like a natural fit. And while James’s soulful, flexible voice works with virtually anything, from cry-in-your-beer country to creeping funk, this tune is deeply and defiantly odd. A relatively primitive bounce sets up whining keyboard sustain as ghostly wisps of his voice flutter in and out. The track moves in fits and starts, full of synthetic hiccups, periodically gasping for air following a refrain that doubles as the perfect setup: “Caught / At a loss for words.” Two-thirds of the way through, the tune takes a right turn into a surreal coda that could power a pixie carousel. It’s bizarre but fascinating, fearless and triumphant in its weirdness.