It’s been almost three years since My Morning Jacket’s most recent album, The Waterfall. That wouldn’t necessarily feel like a super long time if not for the fact that The Waterfall was full of dense and gorgeous psychedelic epics that ranked as some of the band’s best work in years, and the fact that Jim James was then talking up the prospect of quickly following it with a sister album of sorts. That hasn’t happened yet, but James has stayed busy on the side while also touring consistently with MMJ, releasing his sophomore solo LP Eternally Even in late 2016 and then a covers collection called Tribute To 2 last year.
If you’ve been paying attention to the MMJ frontman’s socials lately, you might’ve noticed he’s been hinting that something else was on the way, too — first all impressionistic black and white screenshots, then a James silhouette coming into focus, and finally a brief snippet of fuzzed-out guitar. Today, he’s ended the teasing and released a video for a new single called “Just A Fool.” It’s the opening track and first preview of James’ new solo outing Uniform Distortion, which will be out this summer. Here’s what James had to say about the collection:
My head feels like it is exploding with the amount of information we are forced to consume on a daily basis, and how that information is so DISTORTED there is almost no longer any tangible truth. The name of my new record is Uniform Distortion because I feel like there is this blanket distortion on society/media and the way we gather our “news” and important information. More and more of us are feeling lost and looking for new ways out of this distortion and back to the truth … and finding hope in places like the desert where I write this now … finding hope in the land and in the water and in old books offering new ideas and most importantly in each other and love.
On his past solo efforts, James often used the time away from his band to explore a strain of psychedelic prog-soul. In comparison, “Just A Fool” is a little more straightforward, a welcome missive from the classicist-rock wanderer’s typical wheelhouse. That clip of fuzzed-out guitar he previously shared turns out to be the lead riff and, effectively, main hook that ruptures after James’ calm intonations of the song title. With meditative and laidback verses, it’s one of those James compositions that chugs along rather than reaching for a big catharsis. But that also makes it a fun little earworm of a first single, especially with the Beatles-esque guitar flare-ups towards the end. Check it out below.
01 “Just A Fool”
02 “You Get To Rome”
03 “Out Of Time”
05 “No Secrets”
06 “Yes To Everything”
07 “No Use Waiting”
08 “All In Your Head”
09 “Better Late Than Never”
10 “Over And Over”
11 “Too Good To Be True”
Uniform Distortion is out 6/29 via ATO. Pre-order it here.