Monday, September 28, 2009

19. My Morning Jacket "Off the Record" (2005)

Forget Wilco. Please. Ever since Summerteeth, a wonderful record, Jeff Tweedy has tried to make his band into an American Radiohead. The results have been sometimes underwhelming, but mostly boring and pretentious. Thankfully, nature hates a void. Louisville's My Morning Jacket came along, stole Wilco's M.O., added the Big Sky vocal of Jim James, and made some of the best alternative country music of the decade.

"Off the Record" sees MMJ move beyond their alt-country roots. With its accent on the upbeat, it's more reggae than Americana. Yet their signatures remain intact: James' open-throated delivery, big guitar riffs, and a sing-along chorus.

This should have been a big hit for the band. Instead, it's a buried gem, in an album full of them.

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