Jim James 

Regions of Light

If George Harrison had built a time machine and taken it to the future to study the evolution of music, then decided to make a stop in 2013 on his way back through time to release the sexiest and most soulful album he could create, it might sound something like this new solo release from Jim James. The My Morning Jacket frontman is attempting to recreate himself, and Regions of Light is a breathtaking mile-marker. Here he evokes influences from The Beatles to Bowie, Beck to the Flaming Lips, doo-wop and '70s soul, yet somehow manages to create something entirely his own and altogether empyrean.

Rather than relying on My Morning Jacket's bombastic rock 'n' roll approach, James uses a fanatical attention to detail and intrinsic understanding of dynamics to build the songs on Regions of Light. Tracks often start with the basics—sparse piano chords and a plaintive vocal melody on "State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)," for instance—and gradually add sly bass lines, horns and other textural ingredients that blend together with dramatic intensity while never interrupting the song's slow groove. The final product is a soundtrack to seduction that doesn't wear old after days of continuous listening.

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