By Ian Bremner

“A happy ray of light,” “eternal optimist” and “spread love” are all terms and phrases easily associated with Jim James. He is the wizard-like front man for My Morning Jacket. For most Jim James fans, they might literally believe he has healing powers through his music and spirit. The band is known for a folky psychedelia with a heaviness only possessed by some metal bands. It’s smooth, loud and pretty and can knock you off your feet. Jim James’ solo work has always had a different twist.

2013’s Regions Of Light And Sounds Of God, James’ first solo record, saw him dipping into electronics and an overall weirder approach he may not have been able to get away with in the band. It was a beautiful, atmospheric record with near universal acclaim.

Jim James is back with LP2, titled Eternally Even. Though some of its material has been worked on over the last couple of years, it seems this particularly brutal election season has even effected the eternally positive folks like James. It is most certainly no coincidence, Eternally Even is being released mere days before the extremely polarizing presidential vote.

No one album can sway the vote, and that is definitely not the point. Eternally Even is no protest album or anything, but it does beg you to dig deep into yourself, mortality and some sad realities, issues listeners are not used to hearing from James.

The mood is noticeably darker and drone-ier than Regions Of Light. James’ voice is lower and quicker. His signature buttery bellow is hard to find amongst the rhythmic bass and sonic backdrop. It’s not all doom and gloom though either. True Naure hits a soulful peak towards the end of the record, with vintage horns and jazzy rnb keyboards. The World Is Smiling Now is one of the prettiest and most “Jim James” like songs in recent memory.

It seems that Eternally Even could either be call to arms or a challenge to humanity. Perhaps it’s both.

Take a listen to Eternally Even