Jim James | Regions of Light and Sound of God | Review

Regions of Light and Sound of God, the first album straight from the effervescent mind of Jim James, will be released on February 5. As a true headphone heretic, this project adds another dimension to James’s already genre bending discography which includes: My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk, and Yim Yames. The nine track LP is a powerful portrayal of how it feels to fall into darkness.

While creating this album Jim James was heavily influenced by the 1929 graphic novel God’s Man created by Lynd Ward. God’s Man is a heart wrenching tale of an artist who struggles with the counter opposing forces of the heart and mind. In the search to find acceptance of his art and the woman he loves, the artist finds himself fighting off hallucinations and literally falling into darkness. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone Magazine James explains, “There's a scene where the main character's chased out of town and he falls off a cliff and is lost and kind of injured and this woman finds him and nurses him back to health and they fall in love. And they have a child together and they have this new life. That had happened to me. I had fallen offstage and gotten injured and gotten super dark and fell in love, and all that was happening at the same time I was loving this book.” Although this scene James is referring to was the inspiration for the track A New Life, the entire album was written to score the novel.

The album is without a doubt powerful, erupting from the inside out and bouncing around the room as to make acquaintances with every crack and crevasse. Yet, the passion is thoughtful, sincere, and healing. Reminiscent of Marvin Gaye’s Mercy, Mercy Me or Curtis Mayfield’s Move On Up - Not quite a call to action, but a call to listen. It is not always clear if James is singing from a place of anguish, anger, or acceptance. Perhaps, that was the intent; nothing is more of a blurred line in this world than those of the regions of light and sound.

One thing is clear, however, the methodical madness of Jim James is transparent on this album. The listener is encouraged to sink in and smile as a bearded Muppet bounces around the studio twisting knobs and fraying wires. On the album, James plays every instrumental himself. In a world where most of today’s music feels insincere and distant, Regions of Light and Sound of God, is an honest reflection of an artist’s journey.  

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